When Whistler Hardware first opened its doors in the heart of Whistler Village in October 1980, it did so in the middle of what was essentially a construction site.
“Which is probably the best start any hardware store could ever get,” said owner Shane Holland.
Four decades later, the shop—one of the longest-standing in the village—is still going strong, and marking Small Business Week in B.C. with a 40th anniversary celebration on Oct. 24 and 25.
“I think the secret of Whistler Hardware’s success is that we sell things that people need every day,” Holland said.
“We’re not targeting seasonality, we’re not targeting sports … what I like to say is, if you need it, we’ve got it.”
In a time of unprecedented challenges for entrepreneurs, that flexibility has meant Whistler Hardware is still seeing “fairly robust” sales, Holland said—even if what people are buying is different.
“For example, this summer we sold more fishing gear, more camping gear, more inflatable products than ever before, things that people wanted to do for outdoor activities,” he said.
With B.C. celebrating Small Business Week from Oct. 18 to 24, Holland said the best way to support entrepreneurs is to consider your purchasing decisions.
“Think about if you can buy it from a small business rather than a big box or online, because small business will go the extra mile to satisfy you or make sure you’re happy with your purchase,” he said.
“I’d just encourage everyone to get out and support your small business. If you haven’t been in them for awhile, find out what they do have, and the services they can provide.”
Holland and his family—wife Dayna, son Toby and daughter Midori—bought Whistler Hardware from original owners Jack and Hilda Davey and their son Ken in 2017.
Coming from a corporate background, Holland said he was looking to make a change at the time.
“I wanted a business that really had heart, and to me the hardware store was relay part of the heart of the village, and it provided so many services,” he said.
“I wanted something that was unique, and really something that we could carry on the tradition of. The previous owners were proud to be there for 37 years, and I was ready to take it on and say we can do the same thing, and extend the life of this business.”
Whistler Hardware continues to be a family affair, as the entire family helps out at the store, Holland added, and he hopes to keep it in the family when he retires.
The community is invited to celebrate Whistler Hardware’s 40th this weekend, with plans for prize draws, donuts and birthday discounts, and with 10 per cent of gross sales being donated to the Whistler Community Services Society.