By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A step into the doorway of This & That, located in the old Movie Gallery location, is all you need to see the business has a lot of stuff … this and that, as the name would imply. Whether it is year round offerings, including crafting supplies, party supplies, housewares and odds and sods for men or more seasonal offerings like their large selection of Halloween costuming and decorations, it is clear owner Amanda Jepson and her staff are dedicated to providing Morinville with a variety of goods.
“This & That was bringing to town stuff that I felt, after being here 12 years, Morinville needed,” Jepson said. “It’s more variety, a little bit of everything in one store.”
Jepson said the idea for the business started because her son, currently in Grade 10, was unable to find work locally. Her husband suggested she start a store and have their children help her run it as an after school job. That path to employment has resulted in Jepson’s son and 12-year-old daughter working in the new shop. “My son is going to be 15 next month and he can pretty much run the whole store for me now,” she said, adding the business now employs 14 students from Morinville Community High School. “It’s a goal for us to mentor and give work experience to the kids,” she said. “They’re learning how to do inventory. They’re learning how to stock. They’re learning how to plan-a-gram. They’re learning the till and customer service. We’re trying to teach them through all areas.”
Jepson said the desire to employ students was all part of the family’s love of community. “We’ve always shopped here. We’ve always tried to work here. We always used local businesses when we’ve lived here,” she said. “For me, it’s giving back the same feel, the same vibe.”
Jepson said she wants to be able to offer quality products at an affordable price. Although not a dollar store, she says her products are competitively priced. “I shop hard to find distributors that will give me the best deal,” she said, adding she has implemented several customer loyalty programs that support local groups. “I want This & That to be a local business that is seen as a helper. Right now we are doing a fundraiser for Tiny Totz Preschool because they’re in need of a new facility. We have a punch card program right now. Anyone who spends $100 here – we are giving 15 per cent of it back to Tiny Totz.”
Other loyalty programs are organized for Georges H. Primeau School and Father’s House Christian Fellowship.
This & That was not Jepson’s first foray into business in Morinville. Earlier this year she fulfilled a vision and opened Tiny Tots in the old Movie Time location on 100 Street. The business, not to be confused with Tiny Totz Preschool, offers moms an opportunity to let their children play while they have a coffee and chat with other moms.
“Tiny Tots was more of a vision for community,” she said of the initiative. “It was my vision to bring community together – moms and kids. We’re trying to have something go on at night once a week, a youth drop in. We’ve got a pool table in there now and [we are] looking in October to have some mentorship going on.”
This & That is open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. They are open Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. They are located in the Westmore Shopping Centre, located behind Tim Hortons.