Share Your Maritime Love: Dominique Leger

If you live in or around the Saint John area, you’ve undoubtedly seen Dominique Leger and her In Pursuit Mobile Boutique. It’s pretty hard to miss.  It is, after all, a big pink truck. Inside, Dominique sells the latest in women’s clothing and accessories. She got the idea after spotting something similar on a trip to Boston’s SoWa market for mobile vendors in 2011.  She knew almost immediately that she wanted to bring this unique idea to the Maritimes.  Getting the boutique up and running wasn’t easy but In Pursuit has been in operation now since October of 2013 and has been building a base of loyal shoppers all over the east coast.  Here’s what Dominique had to say about what she loves about living and doing business in the Maritimes:

Do you live in the Maritimes? Where do you call home?
I do! I currently live in Saint John. Growing up I spent the most time in Fredericton (from Grades 2 – 12) before moving to Toronto. I lived in Moncton after that and then Ottawa before relocating to Saint John.

What do you love most about life in the Maritimes?
It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever visited or lived. All of the cliches are true. The atmosphere is relaxed, the people are friendly, everything you need or want is within 15 minutes from your house. You’re surrounded by water and stunning scenery at every angle, every single day of the year. Life on the East Coast is magic, it’s the total package (and it explains why I’ve moved back twice).

What do you find most challenging about living/doing business here?
This is a tough question! I like living and doing business here so much that it’s difficult for me to list any negatives. Simply because of the nature of my business and it being mobile, sometimes Mother Nature really gets in the way. Because we’re on the coast we get a lot of fog, a lot of rain, and a lot of cold weather during the winter months that can sometimes prohibit me from operating street side. That said, because In Pursuit is a 24 hour operation, those days give me an opportunity to work from home on my never ending to-do lists and website updates.

What is your favourite place(s) in the Maritimes? Why?
There are so many! Every city or town you travel to is completely different so it’s difficult to pick just one favorite. I love Fredericton because my family is there. I grew up going to the Saturday market and now every visit brings back all kinds of memories. I love Moncton because of its faster pace and its hustle and bustle. I love tiny towns like St. Martin’s and Saint Andrews because nothing smells better than ocean air and there are few things cuter than little shops and boutiques full of tourists and locals alike. I recently traveled to Halifax and I instantly regretted not having spent more time there. It has a perfect mix of big city coldness and Maritime hospitality. It’s gritty and pretty all at the same time and I’m so anxious to get back (sooner rather than later, hopefully). All of that said though, I really think Saint John is my most favorite of all. It took awhile for me to warm up to it, but once I did; I fell in love and I fell hard. Saint John has so much character (and so many characters).  I am charmed every day by its landscape, its buildings, its history, its people. I’ll never get over the fact that “rush hour” is having to wait your turn at 2 stop lights instead of just 1. Or that the Nature Park is even a place that exists in real life. Everything we need is right here. There’s a renewed excitement in the air and so many things up and coming, I’m proud to say I live here and that this is the place I’ve purposely chosen to open and operate my business.

What do you think we can do to build a better Maritimes?
I think it’s important that we all take ownership individually and stop relying on other people, other corporations and other governments to “make it better”.  I think if we approach things with a sense of optimism and belief that things can and will get better instead of a negative attitude and “we have to do it this way because it’s always been done this way” approach we’ll see a shift. We really do have so much opportunity here; just as much if not more than what exists in any larger city. 

Thanks so much to Dominique for sharing her Maritime Love!  You can follow In Pursuit on social media to see where she’ll be next and don’t forget to check out her online shop at www.inpursuittruck.ca!

If you would like to participate in our #ShareYourMaritimeLove project, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!

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Stepping Up For My City

“Ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city”.

That, of course, is a paraphrased version of the very famous quote by JFK about patriotic duty. Or, in this case, civic responsibility.

This past week, Mayor Mel Norton published a post on his website (previously in the Telegraph-Journal) entitled Our Spirit of Resiliency, where he outlined where Saint John has been, where we are now and how we’re going to get to where we want to be. He called on the citizens of Saint John to pitch in, stating:

“We need you to ask yourself what you can do to foster this city’s ongoing renaissance.  Look around you: others have obviously asked themselves that question and found inspiring ways to answer it.  If you’ll forgive the pun, the ‘burning’ question now is: Have you?”.

Now, I know there has been some argument about whether Saint John really is a ‘Renaissance City’ and whether we should be using the term to describe our city.  I don’t give a shit about all that.  To me, it’s just semantics.  What truly matters is: how do we make our community better?  How do we improve quality of life for Maritimer’s and make this region a place where people want to live and investors want to do business.  I can tell you this: we don’t make our communities better by sitting on our hands.

I know some of you out there are thinking: “Damn it!  I pay my taxes and I vote, isn’t that enough?  What more do you want from me, woman!”

And I think the answer to the question is no.  No, it is not enough to simply live here, pay your taxes and go about the business of life.  Don’t get me wrong, these things are very important!  But in this economic climate, if we want more for our communities than struggling to keep their metaphorical heads-above-water, we need to do more.

I’m as guilty as the next person.  I could do more, I know that I could.  But it’s finding out how best to use your personal skills to help your community that is the real challenge. There are a multitude of ways to contribute to the health of our Maritime communities: from volunteering with non-profit organizations to supporting local businesses to participating in community clean-up days, just to name a few.

There are some people doing incredible things in Saint John that I draw inspiration from: People like Judith Mackin, Michelle Hooton, James Mullinger, the folks at Acre Architects and Third Space Gallery and more.  These people are using their substantial creative talents to build something special in our city.  I think if you look around your community, you will find similar, civic-minded individuals who love their community and want to see it succeed.  And if you don’t, then why not be that person?  Imagine what we could accomplish if we simply stopped our complaining and just got to work?  We would see a very different Maritimes.

So in the future, I will be on the look-out for ways to contribute to the growth and success of my city.  I hope you will too.  And together we’ll build a better Maritimes.