Small B.C. town turns fashion faux-pas into unexpected retail hit

Small towns in B.C. aren't usually known as hotbeds of fashion, but one town in the Kootenays is capitalizing on its rugged sense of style.

Town officials say they can barely keep their 'Salmo dinner jackets' on shelves

Salmo chief administrative officer Diane Kalen-Sukra and Salmo Mayor Stephen White show off their 'Salmo dinner jackets.' (Bob Keating/CBC)

Small towns in B.C. aren't usually known as hotbeds of fashion, but one town in the Kootenays is capitalizing on its rugged sense of style. 

Residents of Salmo, B.C., have long been the punch line for their neighbours in nearby towns. 

One common joke for those in the area is to nickname a red-and-black checkered fleece jacket — which is popular attire for the region — a "Salmo dinner jacket."

The term is popular enough to have become an entry in the Urban Dictionary.  

But instead of idly remaining the butt of a regional joke, Salmo officials have chosen to put the term to good use. The town has put its logo on a batch of the "dinner jackets" and has been selling them out of city hall. 

"We decided to use it as a promotion for the village," said Salmo Mayor Stephen White.

The town's chief administrative officer, Diane Kalen-Sukra, says the jackets have been flying off the shelves, with more than 200 of them sold — no easy feat with a price tag of $55 and up.

"As soon as we stock them, we are out of stock. We've almost got a retail outlet going here," she said. 

Town officials have also offered the jacket as a gift to politicians visiting the area.

Nearby Castlegar has similarly starting selling the jackets, but Kalen-Sukra said there will always only be one true "Salmo dinner jacket."

With files from Bob Keating

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