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

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Victoria Police continue to investigate a stabbing in downtown Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Passerby calls police after finding man stabbed, sobbing on Victoria street

One man was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read