As they work to grow ShopWoodstock.com, Mark and Mallory Kean are expanding their Shop Local reach with the addition of a second ShopCity.com site in their portfolio: ShopStratford.ca in Stratford, Ontario.
The riverside town is known for its charm, unique local shops and, of course, the world famous Stratford Festival. With an independent vibe in its popular downtown and a collection of one-of-a-kind finds, Stratford is the perfect place to see the Shop Local movement thrive.
With this second ShopCity.com purchase, we thought the best way to celebrate was to feature the City Manager behind the expansion. Check out this Q & A about Mark Kean, who along with his wife Mallory are now City Managers for two charming Ontario towns, Woodstock and Stratford.
Tell us three interesting things about yourself.
1. I won the Ontario Men’s Curling Championship in 2015 and represented Ontario at the Brier finishing with a 5-6 record. I’ve ranked as high as 9th on the CTRS (Canadian Team Ranking System) and 12th on the World Curling Tour OOM (Order of Merit)
2. I own a custom clothing business called Runback. Our focus is on custom designed dye sublimated sports and business apparel. The name Runback comes from the sport of curling, the sport of the majority of our clients
3. I have received the highest award (Chief Scout) from Scouts Canada
What inspires you?
In business I’m inspired by truly successful people who have started with very little or start from the bottom and build something through creativity, determination, and an undying desire to accomplish something in their lifetime. In sports, I’m inspired by athletes who against all odds make it to the top of their sport. When counted out by everyone they somehow continue to keep their internal fire going and become a champion.
If you could meet one famous influencer alive today, who would you meet?
What's your mantra?
“If you do not learn from history, you are destined to repeat it.”
Best album of all time?
I’ve never been someone to really love an album or be able to sit through a song I don’t enjoy. When iTunes came along being able to pick individual songs and not buy an entire album was an instant hit for me. In saying that the nerd in me says the Star Wars Soundtrack or anything by John Williams will always bring back great memories of growing up.
What are you most proud of?
What Mallory and I have accomplished in 6 years together.
Mark and Mallory Kean with their certificate of ownership for ShopWoodstock.com.
What makes Stratford unique?
The Stratford Festival has put the city on the map. It’s hard to mention Stratford without thinking about the festival.
Why do you want to launch a Shop Local Movement in Stratford?
Stratford is right next door and has a small business economy that every city wishes they had. The downtown is beautiful and thriving which makes it a great destination for shopping. Stratford is a poster city for what the shop local movement is all about.
How has your experience with ShopWoodstock.com prepared you to take on this new challenge in Stratford?
With ShopWoodstock.com we're learning what works and how to launch a market. We have a better understanding of what small businesses need and how we can help.
What do you love to buy locally?
I love eating at local restaurants and experiencing the different atmospheres that each has to offer. Saturday morning family breakfast at Piccadilly is a personal favourite.
Why do you advocate for the Shop Local movement?
As a small business owner I know first hand the benefits it brings to the city. When someone buys from my business they help to pay for my son and daughter to play sports, or for us to go out for dinner at a local restaurant, or so we can donate to a local charity, and the list goes on. Buying local helps to improve the area that we live in. So it’s not helping just my generation, but my kids generation, and my grandkids generation.
Why do you shop locally?
I enjoy the interaction that comes with shopping locally. Sure sometimes you might find a bad apple, but most of the time you’re going to be buying from someone who is truly passionate about the product or service they provide. It’s a good feeling with you make a purchase from a local business.
What's your professional background?
I studied Marketing and General Business at Conestoga College and own a small custom apparel business.
Mark celebrating a win with his Ontario Men's Curling Championship "Team Kean" teammates in Runback Curling.
What's your advice for new or prospective city owners?
The product is needed. If we don’t sell it, someone else will. If you truly love where you live and believe in shopping local, you will see the value in the product.
What's your definition of an entrepreneur?
Someone who takes risks and is willing to put their passion ahead of playing it safe. They are creative and can dream big.
Where can people find you on social media?