From an early age, Kenny David learned that money is important, and with his blossoming shrewd business sense, he came up with dozens of creative ways to get it.
David lives in the picturesque community of Esowista on Long Beach. He is 15, but the young man, who counts everything, will tell you that he is fifteen-and-a-half.
Four years earlier, with the assistance of family members, Kenny launched a successful home-based convenience store. The business continues to grow each year, but it’s the tale of how the store came to be that keeps the David family inspired.
It goes back to the summer of 2003 when an 11-year-old Kenny was playing behind his home. Tourists walking the beach approached him saying they were hungry. ‘Are there any restaurants nearby?’ they asked.
“I said ‘My grandma should be cooking supper right about now, I’ll go check,’” Kenny told Ha-Shilth-Sa. He found his grandmother putting the finishing touches on a big pot of spaghetti and meat sauce so he asked her for three plates.
Thinking Kenny was offering dinner to his playmates, Gwen David took out three plates; but Kenny insisted on paper plates. He wrapped each meal with plastic before running back to the beach.
The grateful tourists paid Kenny $20 for each plate before asking him about garlic bread.
“He came back in asking for three big slices and I thought it was funny because he never ate garlic bread,” laughed Gwen. Kenny delivered the bread to the tourists, who thanked him, then paid him another $12 and tipped him an additional $5.
Gwen didn’t learn of her grandson’s business transactions for several weeks.
About a week later, Kenny said he went out to see his friends, taking with him a homemade Freezie. “One kid offered to buy one from me, so I went home and got one to sell him,” said Kenny. From that day forward Kenny and his aunt began selling the frozen treats from their home.
Kenny lives in the Esowista home of his grandparents, George and Gwen David. The couple lives in Vancouver, due to health issues, but their daughter Addie and her children live in the home year ‘round.
Raised by his aunt Addie for most of his life, Kenny calls her ‘Mom.’
He recalled a time when a woman from the village asked him if he knew where she might buy a pop. He ran home and, digging into his mom’s personal supply, ran back to the woman to make the sale.
Word soon got out and more people approached Kenny to buy pop. His mother soon began to notice that her pop was disappearing faster than usual. They also noticed that Kenny had quite a tidy sum of money.
When questioned about where he got $150, Kenny confessed he had been selling things to neighbors and tourists. The family decided that Kenny was onto a good idea and used the $150 as seed money. They went to the city where they could buy in bulk to stock the newly established K&A store.
Profits are reinvested back into the store and family members volunteer their time to run the brand new cash register.
Addie is working through the process of acquiring a business license so Kenny can maximize his purchasing power to buy direct from suppliers. He hopes to register his business in the name ‘Sand in your Chumas,’ a reference to the sandy beaches of Esowista and the store’s specialty – candy. At one point K&A offered 65 different kinds, but kids took so long to decide what they wanted to buy. Rather than offering an extensive variety, the Davids now keep fewer varieties, but change them frequently.
They have come up with creative ways to attract customers, including offering specials, holding raffles and dressing up the store with seasonal decorations.
A neon sign at the main entrance lets customers know when the store is open. Not wanting to miss out on any opportunities, Kenny erects a sign in the back yard to attract the beachcombers.
Kenny and Addie have big plans for their little store. On the advice of grandpa George, Kenny and Addie keep detailed records of all business activities. The records will be used to develop a business plan that will give them access to grants or low-interest business loans to construct an addition to the house to expand the store.
An ambitious young man, Kenny spent his summer working at a hake plant in Ucluelet in addition to working the store. At 15, he is back in school and still finding ways to make extra money.
The students at Ucluelet Secondary School recently picked up their school pictures. When a classmate asked Kenny for his picture he offered him an autographed photo for the bargain price of $2, and he got it!
By Denise Titian