Community

Top 40: Stirling puts fun in community involvement

DIANA STIRLING, the owner of LocoLanding, is the newest addition to the Top 40 Under 40. Along with providing a service that provides fun for families, LocoLanding gives back with its Food for Fun and LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt fundraising initiatives. They also sponsor the Challenge Penticton Fun Run, Miss Penticton and Penticton Oktoberfest.  - Mark Brett/Western News
DIANA STIRLING, the owner of LocoLanding, is the newest addition to the Top 40 Under 40. Along with providing a service that provides fun for families, LocoLanding gives back with its Food for Fun and LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt fundraising initiatives. They also sponsor the Challenge Penticton Fun Run, Miss Penticton and Penticton Oktoberfest.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

At LocoLanding, it’s about creating fun and memories for families.

That is what Diana Stirling, owner of LocoLanding and the next addition of the Top 40, Under 40, sees her family business providing.

“We’re in the business of fun, so it’s pretty amazing,” said Stirling.

Stirling said when people approach the gates of LocoLanding, they expect it to be a typical theme or fun park. She claims that isn’t the case, especially with how clean they are.

At the heart of the business are the 55 teenagers working there. She said expectations of teenagers are low.

“When you come to LocoLanding, you’re going to experience the most amazing teens ever,” she said. “So proud of that. We get a lot of compliments on employees. They make LocoLanding.”

Stirling and her husband Dustin, are continually re-investing in the business and have up to nine attractions, with an expansion last year adding a rope course.

“We’re always trying to keep things new and fresh,” she said.

Stirling, 38, has always wanted to be in business, to be an entrepreneur. She graduated from Simon Fraser University and started with Microsoft.

Three years later, she started her own company.

“I love business, especially small business,” said Stirling, adding that she likes to be able to create and do things differently.

It was a big decision for her family to move to Penticton from Vancouver as Stirling owned a business and Dustin worked.

LocoLanding was started by Stirling’s parents Adolf and Lesley Steffen with the help of Gary Senft in 2001 and built in memory of her brother Mike Steffen. Stirling said they wanted to build something where families could enjoy themselves.

After retiring, they passed on the business to Stirling and Dustin and their two kids in 2011.

Stirling said LocoLandings importance to Penticton is to provide the ultimate family friendly environment. She also said they help in keeping people in the city.

They are also a family-friendly employer that gives their employees the freedom to manage their schedules so it doesn’t prevent them from doing what they are passionate about.

The third area that they benefit Penticton is by giving back.

They accomplish this through two separate initiatives: LocoLanding Easter Egg Hunt and Food for Fun.

The Easter Egg Hunt is by donation and has more than 10,000 plastic eggs stuffed and hidden for the community.

Proceeds benefit the OSNS Child Development Centre with more than 40 teen volunteers supporting. Stirling said more than 1,200 people showed up last year.

“It’s fantastic fun to see and we will do it again this year,” she said.

Food For Fun is a vision, said Stirling, for every kid in Grade 3 to come to LocoLanding in June for an hour of free fun. The program has had over 400 kids from the school district bring donations of more than 2,000 items (over 1.5 tons of food.) Stirling said the classes even compete with each other.

“It helps the food bank in the summer months,” she said. “When business is strong, giving back to our community is a responsibility to us.”

Stirling also gives back to the community as a director on the Tourism Penticton board and Penticton Triathlon Race Society.

Society board chairwoman Paulette Rennie speaks highly of Stirling, describing her as a kind and considerate.

After working with Stirling over the past year, Rennie said she’s a tireless volunteer.

“Her work ethic and her a personal capacity to put work forward is phenomenal,” Rennie said.

“I always say to her, she’s a machine. She’s one of these people that just has unimaginable energy and capacity to get work done.

“She’s borderline brilliant to me.”

Rennie said Stirling understands the business markets and competition.

“To come up with creative marketing ideas and inspirations, I’m sure anyone that works with her or for her is always inspired by her,” she added.

 

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