The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce recently solicited input from the community on their favourite “Hidden Treasures” in and around Sooke. Two hundred people responded.

The most valued treasures of respondents were waterfront access and activities (oceanside as well as lakes and rivers), and the local walks, hikes and trails. After that, it was the small independent businesses.

Most of our respondents live and work in Sooke (77%, see Q2). This makes sense for a Chamber of Commerce, as our membership largely consists of entrepreneurs. That said, about 71% of Sooke’s population commutes outside of Sooke to work. In doing this survey again next year (if it were to become an annual pulse-check survey), it would be good to partner with other organizations to get a broader look that includes those who live and work out-of-town.

The most popular category for spending money in Sooke was on groceries. This is in keeping with the 2019 Canada Census filtered for British Columbia which found that Canadians spent on average $18,192 on food per year with the next highest expense being household operations at just under $6,000 per year. The only annual Canadian costs higher than food were accommodation and transportation, which were not considered in this Sooke survey. Restaurants, shops and services were also favoured. Lower on the list was clothing (which was high on the demand list!). This was reinforced by the later question that asked about the last thing they purchased in Sooke: Hands down, it was groceries. It’s also notable that the last thing brought outside of Sooke was also Groceries. Second up: Fashion and accessories.

Over 70% of respondents said they spend between $51 and $300 a week in Sooke, with just over 15% saying they spend between $300 to $1,000 a week.

Knowledge of Sooke was self-categorized as medium (62%), with 37% claiming strong knowledge. Only one percent stated no knowledge. There’s room for improvement in creating awareness of retail and services in Sooke. Of those with medium to strong knowledge of Sooke, about 75% said they would like to spend more in Sooke, and just under 25% said “Maybe.” Of those who had No Knowledge of businesses in Sooke, only one said they would like to spend more in Sooke, and two were more tentative.

Read the full 34-page survey report here.