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In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flames by encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit .... by Albert Schweitzer

I can’t count the number of amazing people in my life that have created that spark as I go through my life’s journey. My name is Mara Nesbitt, married to Jon Nesbitt of the Brooks Bulletin.  We have between us for amazing and prosperous children, and nine phenomenal grandchildren.

I have lived in Brooks over 45 years and have been fortunate enough to touch on so many parts of our community working at the CIBC for 13 years, Newell medical clinic for two years and the MLA office for 15 years getting an unbelievable opportunity to network across the province working with Lyle Oberg those many years.  Somewhere in there I was a Kinette, on many school committees and I managed Cassils Centre Mall and Carry Plaza in Medicine Hat.  After the MLS's office, I was the City of Brooks grant writer and contracted out to the County of Newell to write their grants as well. I also had the opportunity to be a two term Chamber of Commerce President, first chair of Communities in Bloom and Sage Brush Arts and back into the political realms as two term County of Newell Council member. Looking back these positions were ALL about the people and our community. I was just a small clog in the wheel but every time it turned there was a progress that I saw for our area. I move back to Brooks a few years ago from Lake Newell but my heart lives with the county and it’s open air spaces. I have worked as a property manager for Brooks Housing Society for over 14 years enjoying the opportunity to be a part of a group that provides safe, clean, affordable housing to our community. I wrote the grant to provide the second build out of the project. I am currently chair of Sage Brush Arts again and on the board of Brooks Region Tourism (NRTA), and a member of the Brooks Rotary Club.

Over seven years ago, I call it my “blonde” moment, I took on another role that I had on my “Life - Perfect isn’t Possible” picture ... I wanted to own my own business. I bought Work 'N Play a local store that had a fall from Work World in the mall to a small franchise situated close to the CIBC in Grasslands Plaza.  Even though we are group known more for the buying power we are able to buy what we like for our store… And what woman doesn’t like to buy. Well I bought and bought the first year expanding the ladies fashion section and I had a very successful year. The next year wasn’t as Rosie… Norm Gerestein continually reminds me that he got out at the right time… Well yes, we      (my staff and I) have had struggles over these years going through BSE, the oil crash and now COVID... I say BRING IT ON!!  I have a wonderful staff and have said “Life takes you were you are supposed to be...” Well, the store is where I am supposed to be right now enjoying the opportunity to help people where I can. Our goal is to get our customers outfitted properly so they are safe and comfortable working out in the many changes the weather can throw at them whether they work on the farm, in the oil field or other businesses.   My joy is watching the women that come through just before work… not happy with their closet choice, so they pick a new outfit and go out of the store happy. Nothing could be better as a store owner. Or maybe someone just needs to see a smiling face and have a quick conversation while they browse, well that is just perfect.  I have enjoyed working with students over the years giving any experience with their firsts jobs, they keep me grounded and I like to think I keep them on the right path, all with the help of my two competent and caring long-term staff Tina, Denise, and students that have returned well going to university.  COVID may have thrown them a curve ball but they are troopers and work hard to provide the best Customer Service they can.

I believe in our community and will continue to work this business to succeed. Our area has so many things to offer and if we continue to work together we can make this area thrive.

I believe COVID will be a distant memory but Brooks will still be here and I know it may look a little different as it continues to evolve but it will always be a wonderful and caring community.

Mara Nesbitt, LOCAL Owner, Work N Play #235 Brooks

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