‘Chickie’s’ is now open at Chawathil First Nation along Highway 7 between Hope and Seabird Island, a store carrying clothing, blankets and local handmade art and jewelry with Indigenous designs.
Owned and run by Chickie Blakeborough, whose first name is Sharon but everyone knows her as Chickie, the store is open in the first floor of her home in a room facing the garden. Signs saying simply ‘store’ guide customers from the main road through her garden to the shop. Blakeborough opened the weekend of July 11 and sold out of one round of stock already, which she is busy restocking.
The idea for a store first started with Chickie’s plans to bring in blankets for ceremonial purposes. She also makes blankets herself, which sell quickly. She then began bringing in coats and other local items, earrings, masks and other artwork and clothing.
“I’m 71 this year so I thought I should do something, get a store or something,” she said. “So I thought I’m going to get native designs, clothing and blankets of course.”
Blakeborough had a store at her home in Chawathil before, mostly foodstuffs and convenience store items. It was a short-lived venture, but Blakeborough thought this year would be good timing to try another business idea.
Shoppers have come from the local area as well as Mission and Chilliwack, with popular items so far being shawls and blankets. Blakeborough stocks local jewelry, as well as roses made of cedar and masks. Her own mask designs are up on the walls as are handmade drums, and local beadwork from artists in Chilliwack and Sq’éwlets (Scowlitz) First Nation.
One unique sasquatch mask occupies a spot in one corner of the store, made of driftwood with jet black hair flowing down, she said she won’t part with this Carl LaRock piece for less than $800.
Chickie thinks the new coats she has brought in, as well as leggings with Indigenous designs, will be popular. “I have a good eye,” she laughs, when asked how she chooses what to stock. She is also looking for people who want to put their items in as consignment and is on the lookout for a supplier in Canada that sells Indigenous design clothing and other items. This week she got in two new woven cedar hats, one with abalone and another with copper, by local artist Crystal Nicole Chapman.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, Blakeborough is asking everyone who comes in to wear a mask. For those who don’t have one, the store has masks, hand sanitizer and gloves for customers.
Chickie’s is open Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., it is located at 60655 Chawathil Road and can be reached at 604-712-9404 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On the weekends coffee and tea are available, and bannock is sometimes on offer as well.
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