MD Charlton Co. in Central Saanich, is ringing in its 40th year, and owner Alec Rossa hopes there are many more to come. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

MD Charlton Co. in Central Saanich, is ringing in its 40th year, and owner Alec Rossa hopes there are many more to come. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Three Peninsula businesses celebrate longevity

MD Charlton in North Saanich celebrates 40th anniversary this year

The secret ingredient in running a long-standing business is loving what you do, according to three individual Peninsula business owners celebrating longevity this year.

MD Charlton Co. in Central Saanich, is ringing in its 40th year, and owner Alec Rossa hopes there are many more to come.

The store specializes in law enforcement supply, military gear, security equipment and clothing for first responders. Rossa is passionate about finding new and advanced technology and equipment, and supplying it to first responders nation-wide. There are currently four stores across Canada.

“We are constantly searching the world for new stuff, and we bring innovative technologies to Canada,” said Rossa, who has owned the company for 18 years.

Since he bought the business July 1, 2002 it has grown from 15 people to 60. Although the pandemic has been challenging he has not had to lay off any staff. “Our company is a success because of its people, and our team has great relationships with Canada’s first responders. We work with customers from coast-to-coast to supply products and training that saves lives and keeps our communities safe.”

Right now, Rossa said the company is focused on updating its software and website, to make the customer experience easier, faster and more interactive. Rossa is confident in the road ahead, and is looking forward to what is to come for the business.

“It’s ever changing, and there’s always something new and exciting. I enjoy the people I work with. The day it becomes a job, is the day I’ll move on and that’s the whole trick,” said Rossa. “You have to love what you do.”

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, MD Charlton will award 11 scholarships of $1,500 for students in policing or first responder programs across the country.

ALSO READ: Alleged tattoo shop sexual assaults rooted in power, says Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Another Peninsula business that has been around the block is Bosleys by Pet Valu in Sidney. Store owner Doug Busilla has run the local pet store about 20 years and previously owned one in Vancouver for about seven years.

Busilla said word of mouth has been a secret to his success, as well as building trust with customers.

“You have to be truthful and honest with your people,” said Busilla. “Once people talk to you and know they are getting straight goods, they can trust you. But that trust has to be built.”

Bosley’s sells pet food and supplies, a business model that works well for Busilla, as he loves pets and animals.

“It’s a fun business to be in because people with pets are like people with babies, everyone is happy and proud of their pets and are dying to share those things with you,” said Busilla. “We get to know the names of almost everyone’s dog that comes in here.”

For Busilla, the secret to the longevity of a business is being a good people person, and finding the right employees.

“I have employees that have been here a long time, when you don’t have that turnover it all works well together,” said Busilla. “We also enjoy our customers, and if we didn’t, it wouldn’t be that successful.”

A third notable long-standing business in the Peninsula is Expedia Cruises in Sidney, which has been open for about 26 years. The travel company has been in Sidney since 1994, and current owner Elaine Kirwin bought it in 1997.

“Sidney is a great area to be working in, the town has been supportive to us and we are selling travel, which most times people are happy about,” said Kirwin.

Expedia Cruises closed for two months at the start of the pandemic, but is now open.

Kirwin said she has enjoyed watching the business evolve over the years, including the customer clientele that comes through.

“I have gotten to know a lot of people; some clients I have had for 20 years and that’s lovely. It has also been really neat seeing the kids who went to school with my kids all grown up and buying travel now,” said Kirwin.

Kirwin said the secret to owning a long lasting business is loving what you do.

“I love planning travel for people. For some, it’s the only trip they’ll ever take, or maybe it’s a trip of a lifetime. It’s about the people and what we can provide for them.”

ALSO READ: Saanich runner tackles 10 marathons in 10 days for Victoria hospitals

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Saanich parks staff will be applying a herbicide called Garlon XRT in Sayward Hill Park between Jan. 18 to 29 to control the invasive species English holly and hawthorn. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Herbicide used to target ‘priority’ invasive species in Saanich park

Treatment applied to English holly, hawthorn stumps, in Sayward Hill Park

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)
BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

A worker covers up racist graffiti along the West Shore Parkway. (Courtesy of Anna Young)
RCMP investigating racist graffiti spotted off West Shore Parkway

Hateful vandalism is rare, says Langford bylaw enforcement

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Most Read