After more than 20 years running the Jamboree boutique, Shirley Brown and Earl Hansen are handing over the keys.
But the co-owners of the oldest business in the village weren’t ready to leave until the right buyer came along.
“We wanted to find people to take over the business and carry it on as we loved it,” said Brown while speaking to the Low Down inside the 108-year-old building at 740 Riverside Dr., “and we found them.”
The soon-to-be owners are the Jamboree’s next door neighbours: the Chicoine family.
Gaye, the mother of the eight-person household, and her oldest daughter Tanya, 29, will be running the business starting Oct. 1. They said they plan to keep most of the quilts, lamps, clothing and other gift shop items on the shelves.
“It’ll morph into something a little bit different than this,” noted Tanya, who has been working at the store every Saturday since Canada Day. She said her brothers, Ben and Jake, are building a new cabinet for the inside. She’s also developing a more online presence for the boutique, including a website and Facebook page.
The Chicoines started the Wakefield Express and recently renovated that building to add in Billy’s Deli and Pizzeria. They sold the convenience store to Bin Meng and Shasha Pu, but still own the burgers and fries joint.
Gaye said the Jamboree appealed to her family, because it offers more reasonable hours than the Express and a more laid back atmosphere. They are also keeping the current staff.
Brown’s sister-in-law, also named Shirley Brown, first started the Jamboree in the building that now houses La Confiserie sweet shop in 1984. The Brown who currently owns the Jamboree bought it in 1991 and Hansen joined three years later.
The pair bought the current building in 1999 and moved the boutique over in 2003.
The 108-year-old building was initially a general store. The Pattersons first owned the building and then the Cross family took over. A sign that says “Cross Bros.” is nailed to the cash register counter.
Brown and Hansen are only the third owners of the building.
Gaye said her family is working on becoming the fourth owners of the building, but will only own the business at the outset.
Brown said her and Hansen are in their 60s and ready to move on. They have had interested parties inquire about the building, but didn’t want to see it become another bar in the village.
“We are a destination,” she said, while Hansen noted that the Chicoine family transition has been especially “neighbourly.”
As they walked out of the store, Brown pointed to two old horseshoes nailed to the ceiling that have been there since the beginning. Worn with age, they almost blend into the wood.
Gaye said she has never noticed them, but that the mementoes will definitely stay put.