An iconic and successful Chemainus business will be phasing out at the end of October.
The retail garden shop section of Sandpiper Gardens & Glass Inc. will be eliminated from the property after that time. The glass part of the operation will, however, be continuing to provide its wide array of services.
It’s certainly not due to a lack of customers because both aspects of the Laurel Street business do extremely well. It’s more to do with owner Gunnell Borge’s desire to slow down, something she’s talked about for quite some time.
“We do a ton of business but it’s time for someone younger to pick up the torch and we don’t want to sell our property,” noted Gunnell.
“And it’s for a better balance in life. What we’re going to do is we’re selling things off in the garden shop till the end of October.”
Husband Scott will continue to oversee the glass segment.
There’s a great selection of fall inventory coming in, Gunnell added. There will be winter pansies, mums, spring flowering bulbs and so much more.
“Lots of stuff on sale,” enthused Gunnell.
But Sandpiper fans need not worry about being cut off completely. Gunnell and daughter Mieka Caskey have some plans for the fall and into 2022 at the site to fill the garden shop void.
“The garden aspect of Sandpiper is not disappearing,” said Gunnell. “It’s planning on metamorphosing and will be providing garden workshops, custom orders and the occasional pop-up sale. We encourage customers to continue to follow our Facebook and Instagram for gardening tips and upcoming events.”
A fall workshop will include bulb planters and lasagne planter.
“We’re focusing more on education and sustainability,” noted Mieka. “I’ll still be offering garden consultations and landscape design.”
“We still are also taking custom orders for seasonal planters and hanging baskets,” added Gunnell.
It is a family operation, after all, and serving their customers has always been of the utmost priority.
“I love the industry,” conceded Gunnell. “I love the spring hit from the industry, that rebirthing.”
The last year and a half with COVID just got her thinking in another direction that there comes a time to make a change.
“We have people who want to buy the business and we don’t want to sell the property,” she stressed.
With the garden shop’s elimination in Chemainus, “there’s a niche for it that’s going to need to be filled,” conceded Mieka.
For anyone who might decide to take that on in another location, “we’d be fully open to sharing suppliers,” said Gunnell.
“This whole area is going to be revamped into our garden and this is where we’re going to do our workshops,” she added.
At the end of October, “whatever’s remaining we’ll put it towards the back in a clearance area,” Gunnell said.
The Borges originally bought the property in 2003 and started the garden shop and glass enterprise about a year later.
“Chemainus is busy now,” said Gunnell. “There definitely is a niche for something here. I want to really thank our staff. They are really amazing.”
Ingrid Vieira and Angela Bajich, she said, “they work so hard and they’re always upbeat.”
On the glass side, it’ll be business as usual for Scott Borge and son-in-law Damen Caskey.
“It’s busy,” Scott said. “It’s stabilized over the last number of years.”
“The glass is really turn-key,” added Gunnell. “You can lock it up and have a weekend.”
Customers will only notice a minor change for glass services.
“We’re just going to have different entrances,” said Gunnell. “We’re going to focus on a front entrance and a back entrance.”
“There’s the possibility of a bigger bay,” added Damen.
The glass services at Sandpiper are extensive.
“We do obviously auto glass and rock chip repairs,” noted Scott. Both ICBC and private are provided.
The services run the full gamut to screen doors, fireplace glass, mirrors, thermal glass replacements, shower installs, picture frame glass, tabletops – you name it.
Things are going to be a little different, but the Borges and Caskeys are happy with the decision and what lies ahead.
“We’ve had a really good run, time for a change,” Gunnell observed.