Our 'Local People' series focuses on community leaders who help move the 'Shop Local Movement' forward by partnering with ShopCity.com. In 2012, Dee O'Riordan and his wife Taija became a pair of ShopCity.com's first City Managers. Their love for Muskoka, its towns, lakes and spirit led them to ShopMuskoka.com and they've been working hard ever since. We asked Dee to dig deeper into his community, his life and why he loves running ShopMuskoka.com.
Tell us three interesting things about yourself.
1. I’m a Qualified Commercial Pilot & Flight Instructor
2. I have a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do
3. I’m a total Sci-Fi Nerd
What inspires you?
If you could meet one famous influencer alive today, who would you meet?
What's your mantra?
If someone offers you an amazing business opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later.
Favourite artist of all time
Why do you choose to live in Muskoka?
It’s beautiful and I am a small town guy. I could not live in a huge city.
How are you involved in your community?
I coach youth soccer every summer. We volunteer for local charity and events.
I am also on the Revenue Committee for the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce and I’m a former Rotarian
What's your favourite thing to buy locally?
Locally grown produce.
What's your favourite activity in Muskoka?
Lake activities like boating.
Why do you advocate for the Shop Local movement?
Because everyone wins when you shop locally.
What makes Muskoka unique?
Muskoka is known for its beauty. Celebrities from all over the world agree, which is why they have summer homes here.
What's one thing you can only buy in Muskoka?
Give us three words that describe Muskoka?
Beauty, Luxury, Lifestyle
What's your professional background?
I have a degree in Sports Science & Math, I was a commercial pilot and have my flight instructor rating.
What struggles are local business owners in Muskoka facing?
Muskoka business owners need to make the most of their income in the busy season. They have a very short window.
What do you hope the future of Muskoka looks like?
I hope Muskoka can attract more tech savvy businesses and not solely rely on tourists. Having an industry other than retail and trades is a must for Muskoka.
Where do you hope to see ShopMuskoka.com in 5 years?
In five years I hope to have our very own ShopMuskoka.com Hub. I also hope to have a ShopMuskoka.com delivery service to help our clients sell more online locally and get items delivered. I would like to have at least 4 full time staff (2 Admin/Graphic Design/Social Media and 2 Sales Reps).
What's your advice for new or prospective city owners?
Never stop networking!
What's your definition of an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of existing products and services, to set up new products and new services.
Where can people find you on social media?
Why do you shop locally?
I practice what I preach. Shopping locally helps build a better stronger community, something I believe very strongly in.
Check out ShopMuskoka.com today!