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Member stories

Shannon Garraway
Member since 2003, Port Coquitlam Branch

"How you conduct yourself, what you do, what you say, is a mark of who you are."

The fitness industry in BC is growing, year over year. Metro Vancouver offers everything from boutique spaces, to big fitness chains, to high-end premium clubs. What hasn’t kept pace with this growth is the number of women in leadership roles.

Shannon Garraway is co-owner and Chief Operating Officer of Lifestyle Equipment Canada, based in Delta, BC. She is one of the first women to own a fitness equipment business in the province. Being the type to face challenges head on, Shannon approached her role at Lifestyle Equipment with vigor, committing herself to learning everything she could about business leadership and the complexities of running a successful fitness club in a competitive market.

“When I started there was only one other female locally that was in the fitness business.

I started as a secretary… people had a hard time taking me seriously as an owner.”

Shannon has been with Lifestyle Equipment since 1995, starting as a secretary and working her way up to co-owner of the business in 2001. Along the way, Shannon ran two business—Lifestyle Equipment and Planet Woman Health Centre—and still found time to complete a certificate in nutrition and become a certified personal trainer.

Today, Shannon draws on her extensive knowledge in health and fitness, as she works with fitness clubs to develop their business. She provides them with training and strategic planning.

“My reputation is everything. You don’t get second chances, you get one chance to do it right.”

Shannon has been customer-focused for so long. But when it came to her banking, she didn’t expect she’d receive the same service from a credit union.

In 2018, when Shannon and her partner moved their business banking to G&F, they were somewhat surprised to receive praise from G&F on the state of their business financials. Surprised, because Peter Palikot, G&F Business Relationship Manager, had taken the time to review and discuss the financials in detail.

Shannon notes that although her company is one of the smallest of her competitors, that doesn’t seem to matter to G&F.

“In 24 years, no bank has shown interest in anything we’ve done.”

Peter drove from G&F’s Port Coquitlam branch to Lifestyle Equipment in Delta and sat down with Shannon and her business partner. He took time to learn about their business model. He offered additional services to streamline the human resources and payroll aspects of their business.

Overall, Shannon says she is thankful to work with a financial institution that is genuine and committed to providing her with good service.

“When I go into the branch… I feel we are with somebody that actually wants to grow with us.”

What’s next for Shannon?

Shannon shares that the past two years have been hard. Since her business partner was injured in an accident, Shannon has taken on all aspects of running the business. While she is fully determined to continue to work toward the success of the business, Shannon knows that she needs to take time for self-care. She plans to learn Spanish, continue practicing yoga and take a long-awaited vacation somewhere warm.

Grow your business with help from a G&F expert.

Karan Soni

Business Relationship Manager