“When I was seven years old I remember going into the hardware store in Barriere with my grandpa. It was a Marshall Wells store back then; it’s been around for 60 years,” says Shawn Fadear, who is the most recent owner of the store, which is now an Irly TIM-BR Mart.
Shawn, and his wife Suzie, purchased the store next to the post office over two-and-a-half years ago, and since that time have grown the business and developed a solid customer base.
“We have good customers, and we have regulars; they come to town to the post office or bank then stop in to the store, their dogs get treats, and they chat with staff,” says Shawn.
He notes, when they purchased the “uptown store” he already had a plan in mind that involved property next door to Sam’s Pizza and Rib House on the Yellowhead Highway.
“We’ve thought about relocating the store to the highway for a year-and-a-half, and now feel the time is right to do so.”
The merchant tells that the current site of the store “is just not a suitable place for a lumber yard. The previous owners obtained special permission for the lumber yard, but it’s really not what the property is zoned for. We have excellent customers here, and I think that after 60 years they deserve a better hardware store.”
Shawn and his son Ryan own the company Gabion Wall Systems, which is based on the adjacent property directly south of the new store site.
The foundation has been poured and construction is well underway for the new building, Shawn says they have a projected opening date of early Spring 2014.
“We’re not going to to jump into anything really different,” said the merchant, “It will not be a box store, but it will no longer be an Irly TIM-BR Mart, it will be 100 per cent TIM-BR Mart, as they have bought the Irly distribution centre in Vancouver.”
He notes that the new store will have “curb appeal”, and will fit nicely into the spacious setting of the site. “Look at all the space we have. We’ll have an expanded product line, more choice for our customers, and a really nice big lumber yard. We’ll expand our tool rentals, and possibly also go into equipment rentals. We also have a garden centre for the Spring season in our plans as well.”
He notes that the landscape materials division will also be expanded, and that having everything on one site will greatly enhance the service for those looking for landscape merchandise.
The new building will be 7200 square feet, with a 2,000 square foot upper floor mezzanine for offices.
He says that until the new store is ready to be opened it will be business as usual at their “uptown” location. Most likely the switch over will be done over a weekend, keeping any inconvenience to customers at a bare minimum.
“We will have the same good staff and management team in the new store, and they will continue to offer the same good service that our customers are used to,” said Shawn, “There will be better pricing and better selection.”
The merchant says that the existing two lots where the hardware store currently operates from are up for sale, and he comments that surveys that have been done on the needs of customers within the area show a strong support for an outlet that features clothing and work wear. “I think there is an opportunity for someone to open a clothing store in town, and that is a good location for one.”
Asked why the Fadears have taken on this large expansion to their hardware store business in a rural community, Shawn answered, “We’re positive about Barriere – it’s the lifestyle, and Barriere is our home.”