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She may be in the travel business, but Gaye Ann, owner of Walsh Luggage in Market Square, likes to feel like a tourist in her own hometown when it comes to her own vacation planning. 

“I have a great mix of customers - local, from Atlantic Canada and international. Visitors have a great appreciation for our local beauty. Why wouldn't I?"

The increase in visitors to Saint John - up to 1.5 million per year - is having a positive impact on her business too. "I’m really optimistic about future plans. I’m the only independent luggage and leather goods store left in Eastern Canada. And people like the experience they have in the store. I'm often told that they don't have shops quite like this at home, in markets like Boston and Toronto."

She wants her long-standing family business to, well, feel like a family business. "For our regular customers, I love seeing generations of their family come in. I’m serving second and third generation customers. They become an extension of your family. The connection we have is genuine."

And the location helps too. "Being in Market Square helps me reach tourists. To get to the store, you have the experience of walking by fine dining, eclectic stores and you see cruise ships tied to the docks. As a local, I feel lucky that I get to experience this every single day. When Market Square was built, it really revitalized the heart of the city – it brought us back to together."

Listen to Gaye Ann’s radio ad: