Travellers flying in and out of the Comox Valley Airport will have plenty of opportunities to experience what the Island has to offer as soon as they walk through the doors.
At a launch party Wednesday, YQQ officially welcomed the Island Good brand and pledged to increase efforts to offer more local products to consumers. Comox Valley based producers were on hand to give out samples to airport guests and travelers, with local musician Luke Blu Guthrie playing some tunes.
“Our day job here at the airport is to run the air service… but we also try to run this airport in a fashion that enables economic development in our Valley,” said Fred Bigelow, YQQ chief executive officer.
Island Good was created by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance in 2018 with the vision of making local products more accessible to Islanders and travellers – a vision that has since become a reality.
From cheese to beer to baked goods, On the Fly Café and Mid-Island Gifts are proud to offer many quality products from Island producers, many of which are even local to the Comox Valley.
While the café had already been providing local products, it has now incorporated even more Comox Valley grown and produced items into its new menu.
“It has been so well received at the café,” said Andrea Wagemaker who owns the café along with Jackie Bruneau. “Money stays in the Valley. It means economic growth for our Valley to support our community, and with the Island Good brand, it just allows us to explore what products are available to us locally.”
George Hanson, president of the VIEA, said before launching the Island Good campaign last year, the association ran some tests, placing more local products in stores to see how customers would respond. On average, local products saw a 16.36 per cent spike in sales throughout a six month period.
“We think Islanders are predisposed to buying local and we know that tourists are looking for local products and unique things so they can experience local culture and take gifts home to their friends and family,” he said.
Along with the Island Good launch, the airport also celebrated the beginning of their latest Art at the Airport exhibit. For the next six months, the nine Art Alchemy Studio artists will have their artwork on display all over the airport.
“It’s a really amazing opportunity for us because … in the airport, they have such nice big walls that we can make nice big art and it gets viewed by so many people,” said Helen Utsal, the studio’s principal artist. “I think it’s a good thing for the airport too because people come here and they see all of the beauty of the Island and nature represented in the paintings.”
All pieces in the airport are available for sale. For more information on the studio, visit www.artalchemy.ca/