Three years ago, as Dean Washington was buying Grip Tire and Auto on St. Johns Street in Port Moody, he and his daughter scoped out the downtown area and met the neighbours.
“She said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have a walking map for our customers?’” said Washington, who is also a Port Coquitlam city councillor and president of RPM Media Inc.
After all, their patrons were asking Grip’s staff what to do — and where to go — for the hour or so while their tires were being changed over or their vehicles were being repaired.
Washington kept his daughter’s idea simmering until Jamie Cuthbert walked into Grip. He asked the entrepreneur if he knew a local artist who could create a walking map for clients.
His answer? Rose Kapp, an illustrator, cartoonist and designer who’s work is well-known in Port Moody.
In January, Washington commissioned Kapp to whip up a walking map to show the area’s landmarks and eateries that are open during the daytime and within walking distance of Grip.
And, on Tuesday (March 1) the pair picked up 1,000 hard copies for the first run — a colourful tri-fold on glossy, legal-sized paper that was printed by Minuteman Press in Coquitlam.
WHERE TO VISIT, EAT
Featuring Kapp’s signature style, the map showcases her watercolour paintings of the north shore, Burrard Inlet and Rocky Point Park, as well as whimsical drawings of the buildings and businesses: Among them, Brewers Row, cafés, bakeries, delis and civic facilities like the Port Moody Station Museum and PoMoArts (formerly known as the Port Moody Arts Centre).
And, for clear wayfinding, Kapp grouped each of the five categories according to colour to correspond to a map number:
- yellow for breweries and spirit houses
- pink for coffee shops and casual dining
- red for restaurants
- blue for shopping
- purple for food stores and delis
Kapp said she was intrigued by some of the distinct architectural elements in the downtown, like on the Moody Centre building, and played up their unique characteristics in her drawings.
“There are a lot of hidden gems the community,” she said. “A lot of them go unnoticed.”
Washington told the Tri-City News that he was so impressed with the results that he’s shown the walking map to some other Grip store managers to emulate, if possible, for their client base.
So far, he said, the feedback from the Port Moody outlet has been overwhelming, with more than 100 walking maps distributed in three days.
And, as many clients are new to the region, they appreciate the business promoting the downtown and encouraging people to shop local.
“Since we started in October 2019, we’ve been averaging 100 new customers a month,” Washington said. “Most of these people have just moved here and don’t know what’s around.”
Still, once the first run of the map is finished, Washington said he’ll update the template for the next series with Kapp to ensure the map stays current.
New businesses are cropping up all the time, she said, noting the imminent opening of Hard Bean Brunch Co. on Clarke Street.
Since the Grip map launched, Kapp said she’s had interest from other businesses to create similar projects for their customers.