NEW BUSINESS PROFILE: Pat Hinds - Embracing the Mountain Life
Another chapter in the revitalization of the Bank of Montreal building began this past weekend.
Two years ago, Pat Hinds was the CFO of a multi-million dollar company in Vancouver. An ultra-marathoner with 17 full marathons and even a “700 miler” under his belt, Pat and his wife, Karen, who loves to ski, and their young son began to seek a new place to call home in order to have a better work-life balance. They wanted to be between Vancouver and Calgary so they could still be close to family, and eventually they shortlisted their choices to Nelson and Rossland. Rossland’s trail network was a big appeal for Pat, who is not only an avid runner, but a hiker and snowshoer as well. Two years ago, after Pat took a job with Selkirk College in Castlegar, they decided to settle in Rossland.
When asked if Rossland has lived up to his expectations, Pat says “it has lived up to our expectations. In fact, Karen would not let me move at this point. We were looking for a very active town. We chose the community based on what we were looking for, so we checked out how the schools were ranked, access to the outdoors, access to the ski hill. The trail network was a big appeal. This area is fantastic.”
With a passion for the outdoors, opening an athletic apparel store had been percolating in the back of Pat’s mind since he worked for The Running Room back in 1993, where he ran some running clinics. His job at Selkirk College, where he was Manager of Finance, was a good one, but lacked the autonomy he craved. “I didn’t have the decision-making I’d had previously. At least opening your own business, you have all the decisions. That was one of the appealing factors, as well as providing what I thought was a needed service to the community.”
Indeed, Pat, and many people he came to know here who are into athletic activities, was always having to travel to Nelson or Spokane to get the gear he required. All these factors transformed the percolating idea into more of a solid dream. “When I was looking at something that excited me, this was sort of it,” Pat says. A space was found in the bottom of the Bank of Montreal building, the renovations began, and Mountain Life opened its doors in time for Golden City Days.
Of the location of his store Pat admits that when he moved here, he didn’t know much about the history of the building, just that it was always empty. “To me, it’s almost the centre of our community. It seemed silly to have something so under-utilized [in the town’s centre].”
In the newly revitalized space, Mountain Life offers a vibrantly colourful and stylish selection of athletic wear, base layers for outdoor activities, and accessories for many kinds of sports, from yoga to cycling to running. Pat’s merchandise includes items from companies that are environmentally conscious, and he also sells a line of energy and electrolyte replacement products. The 480 square feet of his store is pleasantly packed, and even more stock will be arriving soon.
Pat Hinds’ love for his new home and community is also inspiring him to plan some events for the community, with proceeds going to a local group or organization. He is offering a Learn to Run program, similar to the ones available in larger centres were there are Running Room locations. Additionally, he is starting a running group on September 18th that will meet on Saturday mornings, and participants will carpool to one of the trails. During the winter, the group will transition to road running or snow-shoeing.
“I love the community [here],” Pat enthuses. “It’s full of active and very creative people. There are people who have chosen to live here because of the location, and they are making their careers work. And that’s sort of what I’ve decided to do as well. I certainly could make a lot more money elsewhere but that’s not what it’s all about.”