Feature Story                                                                                           Saturday, November 2, 2013

                     

Beddin' Down for Biz

City of Chilliwack receives $10,000 award from the Small Business Roundtable

Staff/Voice photos

 

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness (L), Chilliwack MLA John Martin and Minister for Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto try out the furniture at J. Ballam's on Monday. Below, Martin and Yamamoto speak with Amber Short at the Bookman on Wellington Ave.

 

inister of Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto was a like kid in a candy store as she toured small businesses in downtown Chilliwack on Monday, stopping at Sticky's Candy, the Bookman, Lolly's Fashion Lounge and J. Ballam’s Furniture Bedroom Gallery on Wellington Ave.

 

Yamamoto was in town to present the City with a cheque for $10,000 after the City of Chilliwack was chosen for a BC Government Open for Business Award from the Small Business Roundtable.

 

Chilliwack was one of seven winning municipalities including; Langley, Central Saanich, Coquitlam, Fort. St. James, Penticton and Kelowna.

 

It was a fun romp through the stores. Yamamoto checked out the beautiful furniture at J Ballam Furniture Gallery along with Chilliwack MLA John Martin, Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness and City Councillor Chuck Stam.

 

The Ballam’s have been selling furniture for generations—and always on Wellington Ave.

 

“We get people who've bought from my dad and now their grandchildren are coming in. Probably once a month I get someone who’s dealt with grandpa before,” said owner Jim Ballam.

 

Downtown Chilliwack has been struggling over the years with more business leaving than coming.

 

“The dynamics are very much to the point where there is less of the pie to go around actually, because there are more entrepreneurs and there's more competition so the small business has been fun for us,” said Ballam in a discussion at the store Monday.

 

“There are some wonderful opportunities, it's reasonable to rent downtown and I think the people really need to look for those opportunities.”
 

The Ballam family is weathering the storm in part by expanding sales outside of Chilliwack but keeping jobs here by manufacturing most of what they sell in Chilliwack.

 

“We are reaching to Kamloops, Kelowna," said Ballam. "We delivered twice to Surrey this last week. We're in Langley and Abbotsford again tomorrow,”

 

The Ballams recently landed a contract to furnish around 200 cottages at Osoyos Lake.

 

Minister Namomi Yamamoto had a blast at Lolly's Monday while touring Chilliwack stores. Below, Yamamoto speaks with store owner Lois Chadburn.

 

“We've also provided for commercial opportunities and we've done a lot for the executives at the army base and Pacific Regional Training Centre. We put thousands of pieces of furniture that we've actually manufactured in Chilliwack over the last three or four years,: he said

 

Ballam likes what the government is doing for small business.

 

“We are a survivor within the community,  it's important to us, so it's nice to see the government is moving forward in that direction.”

 

A couple of doors down at the Bookman, Amber Short, who co-owns the used book store with her father David, took Yamamoto on a tour of the popular shop.

 

“We get them from all over the place,” said Short. “We have customers bring them in, we have scouts that go out as well and look for them at auctions or people's houses or garage sales. 

 

“I started about 10 years ago, we didn't have computers in the store and websites and now we've got 7 so like each book could have had 7 hooks in the water at the same time,” said Short.

 

Three employees hunker down at the back of the store listing books, and doing store database entries while another works wrapping and shipping the books.

 

The Bookman has been shipping tomes to Americans for years. In an average week, they send out hundreds via Canada Post.

 

Later, Yamamoto and the group moved to Chilliwack City Hall for the cheque presentation.

 

Yamamoto told the small group gathered there, that small business is the heart and soul of any community.

 

“We know that the leadership starts at the top with Mayor Gaetz and the council,” she said. “Thank you for all that you do for small business in your community.”

 

MLA John Martin (L), Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz, Minister Naomi Yamamoto and MLA Laurie Throness were at City Hall for the cheque presentation Monday.

 

Gaetz lauded the City’s relationship with the Chamber of Commerce, and later while talking with the Voice about what plans have been made for the $10,000,  she said they are looking at a “business incubator”  similar to Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank.

 

“The University of the Fraser Valley is going to be starting a business course that is located right at Five Corners,” said Gaetz. “We are going to be partnering with Community Futures to be able to have this fabulous program for students to come in and learn more about business.”

 

“What will happen is that CEPCO has about 20 members on the board who are all skilled business people and they'll be sharing their critiques with some of these students and helping them launch their new entrepreneurial efforts,” she explained.

 

Another thing being looked at is a business resource guide.

 

“It’s for people that are starting up a new business that will guide them through the process of; how will you get help from CEPCO; how will they help in promoting your business and making sure that your business has the opportunity to expand; how can you use their services and hoping to put it into several languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean Tagalog,” she said.

 

See more photos below. 

 

 © Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice

 

 

About the Bookman

The Book Man is a family run, locally owned and operated used bookstore with a staff of fifteen unique and amazing individuals at our two branches.

 

We currently have the second largest used bookstore in the province of British Columbia at our Chilliwack location and have over half a million beautifully organized titles split between our two storefronts.  Visit us in our 5,000 square foot bookstore in Historic Downtown Chilliwack.

 

45939 Wellington Ave Chilliwack, BC V2P 2C6 (604) 792-4595

www.bookman.ca

  

About Ballam Funrniture 

J. Ballam Furniture Gallery has been a continuously operating family business for over 32 years. Located in the downtown core of Chilliwack’s main business area Ballam’s has seen all the changes that have taken place through the years.

 

Over time the store has built up a tremendous and loyal customer base and continues to do so through it’s practice of providing a great customer experience every time. They’d rather lose a sale than apply hard selling and pressure on a customer.

 

For thirty-two years now J. Ballam Furniture has been an authorized dealer for the famous La-Z-Boy line of products. Many items are now in the gallery for you to try before you buy.

 

So, if you’re looking for a quality La-Z-Boy item, a mattress set from Restonic, or any other piece of quality furniture for your home come in and feel the easy difference that shopping for furniture is like at J. Ballam Furniture.

 

Address: 45921 Wellington Ave, Chilliwack, BC V2P 2C6 Phone:(604) 793-7966

www.ballamfurniture.com

 

About Sticky's Candy

Like a mouthful of Pop Rocks, Sticky’s Candy exploded into Downtown Chilliwack, developing a near-cult like clientele with an unquenchable thirst for the sugar experience.   Our store provides the ultimate sugar experience giving you edible nostalgia in a fun, unique and novel environment. Our customers range in age from 8 months to beyond 88 years, and have an appetite for all things candy.

 

Part of Sticky’s Candy’s identifying attraction and appeal is our unique mix of products – we offer a wide range of confectionery products not found in traditional stores.  Mojos, grape-flavoured licorice, Candy Necklaces, Swedish Berries, Curly Wurly’s, Pez, Fun Dip, Blow Pop suckers (every flavour under the sun!), Penguin Bars, Big League Chew, Wonka Bars, Candy Sticks (in every flavor imaginable), White and Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Warheads (can’t get more sour than this), Pop Rocks, Tootsie Pops, just to name a very few. We even carry an extensive line of Pez for the nostalgia enthusiast. And if you want to really gross out your friends, we have Cricket Lick-It and Scorpion suckers, together with chocolate covered insects and candy covered ants.

 

Sticky’s Candy consists of friendliness, a sense of discovery and nostalgia, and being a selection leader in candy.  The customer focus is on the product, the shopping experience derived from the product, and of course the delight in enjoying the product.

 

We want every visit to the store to be an experience of new candy and childhood memories. It’s a place where people leave feeling better than when they came in.

 

45929 Wellington Ave Chilliwack, BC V2P 2C6 (604) 393-0753

www.stickyscandy.ca

 

About Lolly’s Fashion Lounge

Owner: Lois Chadburn

45891 Wellington Ave., Chilliwack, BC V2P 2C8 (604) 392-9327

Connect with the store through their Facebook page

www.facebook.com/LollysFashionLounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for looking.