Friday, January 22, 2010

Five Dollar Brambles Challenge

Hello and a very belated Happy New Year! 

I haven't written in so long I feel like my writing muscles have seized up.  In an attempt to ease myself back into a routine without injuring myself,  I've decided have a little fun with this first post of the decade.  

Retail sales tend to slump in January, as people suddenly become frugal after over-indulging in December.  Downtown Courtenay businesses have been hit particularly hard this year.  Media coverage of local flooding, while providing us with some impressive photos (my favourite is of people canoeing across a baseball diamond), has shoppers thinking twice before heading into town.  This made my shopping yesterday particularly easy, as I had the stores pretty much to myself, but it left me rather concerned about some of our local retailers.

In an effort to generate some business for my favourite downtown Courtenay shop, I'm challenging those of you in the Comox Valley to brave the (receded) flood waters, take five dollars from your change jar and head to Brambles for a little grocery shopping.  I'm willing to bet your biggest challenge will be limiting your spending to five bucks. 

Now here's where the little bit of fun comes in.  I'm making this challenge into a little contest.  Go to Brambles, spend your five dollars and leave a comment here telling me what day you were there and what you bought.  Make sure you include a name or a nickname with your comment, because I'm going to randomly select one person and send them a five dollar Brambles gift certificate.  (I told you it was a little contest.)  I'll choose my winner on February 1, 2010, so make sure you do your shopping and leave your comment before the end of this month.  If you visit Brambles more than once between now and January 31, feel free to leave a comment after each visit.  

Now go, empty those pockets, scrounge under your sofa cushions and dig to the bottom of your purse.  Do whatever it takes to scrape together your five dollars and get shopping.  I look forward to seeing your comments here soon.


  1. Laurie, you're back! Hurray! I won't be Brambling today since it's a little bit of a drive from Texas, but your contest sounds fun. Happy shopping!

    By the way, you didn't tell us what YOU bought from Brambles. Nosy readers want to know!

  2. Hooray Rosie! You should get a prize for being first to comment after my lengthy absence. I'm already pondering a contest where everyone can play. I know this one is very local, but I don't have any other ideas yet.

    My purchase on Jan 21: Toulouse sausages and a five dollar gift certificate.

    (Mind you, that was second visit of the day. My earlier visit included potatoes, honey whole wheat bread, garlic, lettuce, mixed greens, apples, ground beef, stewing beef and probably something else I can't remember right now.)

  3. Brown rice buns and a bag of mixed greens. More than $5 but well worth it!

  4. Wooo hoo! Bookgirl jumps into the lead. Whew! I was beginning to think no one wanted to play! Thanks for sharing Bookgirl.

  5. Hi Laurie, I went to Brambles last night and bought local minced pork to go into my wontons for soup. Thanks for the contest to remind me of Brambles! I saw the honey wheat bread there, new bakery in Cumberland, how is the bread? Nice to see you back writing... I'm going anon. until I figure out how to chose my identity.

  6. 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, two of the best scones ever, some granola bars and fruit leathers. More than $5 but I love Brambles.

  7. Hi to Anonymous and Christy! Thanks for stopping by to play. Hope you enjoy your purchases.

    @Anonymous - The honey wheat bread is gone, so I guess that's a good indicator of how it was. You can be Anonymous 1 for the purpose of the draw. Let me know when you get your secret identity worked out.

    @Christy - What a haul! I have trouble keeping to a budget when I'm there too. I'll have to check out the scones next time I'm there. Thanks for the recommendation.

    And for anyone else thinking of playing...feel free to enter whether you spend more or LESS than five dollars. I'll be glad to see you here either way!

  8. Glad you're back Laurie, it took a contest to get me into Brambles, great place, right across from my bank.On my visit I got candied salmon mmmmmm mmmm, frozen perogies for my husband, dip spices, and some local bacon. I think the perogies were almost 5 bucks, but the stuff was interesting and I'll be back, thanks.

  9. Hi Anonymous! For the purpose of the contest you will be "Anonymous Two", but I know who you are!

    It really is hard to spend only 5 dollars at Brambles. I'm so glad you found so many good things, and I'm thrilled that you entered my little contest. Thanks!

  10. ancient grains bread, apples, curry and dessert

  11. Good news Laurie! I finally went to Brambles and was pleasantly surprised - on Jan.28. I bought the beef and blue cheese sausages- which we haven't eaten yet but will update when we do for a forensic analysis on the taste meter. Also, some soap and a truly decadent treat. I hope I don't win or I will become an uncontrollable contest enterer - I just know it!!! Eva

  12. Hi Eva. I'm looking forward to the verdict on the beef and blue cheese sausages. Hope you stop by again and let us all know. Good luck with the contest in spite of your concerns. I'm sure if you win you can get some counselling through your employer's plan!

  13. Hi Sheron. Sounds yummy. What did you get for dessert? I'm sure it was wonderful. Hope you enjoyed every bite.

  14. Bag of mixed greens... super crisp and fantastic! Thanks Laurie.

  15. Made a special trip as I did'nt want to be left out of the contest...Can't remember if the deadline is today or tomorrow, so I'm making sure i post tonight! My selection was Tandoori Chicken Sausages. Brought a freezer pak with me to keep in the car, as I knew I was going to be out all day, but wanted to participate in the challenge. Will cook them up was our LOCAL Boston Pizza for dinner tonight! I'm sure the local sausages will be far more satisfying. Way to bring the community together,Laurie ;o)

  16. Welcome Claire and Chris. So good to see you here. Thanks for playing.

    @ Claire - I often head to Brambles with a list that says "greens". They are that good!

    @ Chris - You made the deadline! I won't do the draw until Monday, but Brambles is closed Sundays, so it's a good thing you shopped today. I ate three meals out today - all in Nanaimo, so I'm not sure I did any local eating! (Though the beer at Longwood Brew Pub may count.) Squash pesto over pasta and a salad tomorrow. (Squash from Sleeping Cougar Acres, Brambles' greens, Island Farms cheese...)

  17. Laurie,
    Thanks for encouraging a return visit to Brambles. I had no problem spending more than five dollars on the tempting array of sausages.Final decision was Maples Pork, Chicken Tomato and Turkey Yucatan. Baking the Maples and Chicken Tomato for breakfast.

  18. Welcome Connie. You're up early! Thanks for coming by to play. Brambles sausages are so good we have a hard time choosing too. We try a different kind every time and haven't found one we haven't enjoyed yet! Enjoy your breakfast!

  19. Took your advice and went Brambling

    The shop is like those when I was a child
    Apples, parsnips, meat and curious foods
    Even soap and things from the wild
    I think I saw my parents, an illusive sight
    Mama at the parsnips, Papa tasting meat
    This long diversion now concludes
    With five dollars and a smile so bright
    I bought my lamb, went home to eat

    Finally, no more of my long rambling

    From Annonymouse

    PS I think you know who I am, although after this really baaaaaad poetry you may not want to know me! But a hint, I put dates in my rhubarb....

  20. Hello Annonymous!

    Wow! A poem! Certainly a first for this blog. In fact I don't think anyone has every written a poem for me before. Thank you!

    Because you went to all the trouble; and because I know you shopped before the deadline, as Brambles wasn't open at 6:36am when you commented; and because with a tenth contestant I can use my cool, green ten-sided die to select a winner(nerd alert!); I'm going to put your name in the draw even though it was a day late. Besides, after reading your comment over at "Dairy Police" I know you have trouble with rules, you raw milk addict you!

    Hope you enjoyed your purchase!


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