“When he said we were approved to go to Canada, I cannot even tell you how happy that made me. There was nowhere else I wanted to go.”
In a series dedicated to Janina’s history, Andrzej outlines how he came to Canada, how he entered the goldsmithing, and how Janina’s became to be.
A Sign for the Future
He kept at it for two years – working hard and saving up his money. His family started to grow with the birth of his first child, Chris. As he continued to provide for a growing family, he simply knew that now was the time.
And so, Andrzej walked into the mall, up to the man who had given him his first pieces of work as a goldsmith, and said, “I would like to talk to you – in private.”
Together, they walked through the Prairie Mall and settled on some benches by the food court. Mr. Schultz looked at Andrzej and said, “What is it, AJ?”
After a deep breath, Andrzej said, “Mr. Schultz. I would love to open up my own business.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I love to repair rings for people. And I want to have that as my business.”
A moment passed, and Andrzej wondered what the man in front of him could possibly be thinking. Was he upset at the announcement? Had Andrzej severed any ties he had to the person who had helped him realize his dreams?
“You know what, AJ.” Mr. Schultz said finally, “Every man wants to put bread on the table. You go ahead and open up your business, and continue doing our goldsmithing. You provide for your family.”
Andrzej didn’t know what to say. This small gesture of approval meant more than he could express. As long as Mr. Schultz would allow him, Andrzej would continue to work for and work with this man. It was as though he was given a sign that this was the right path, a signal that things might just be falling into place.
Finding A Home
Andrzej set off looking for a location. He visited the downtown core, looking at every shop and storefront available. At this time, one of the cornerstones of Downtown Grande Prairie was the old Co-Op – which featured a shop-filled basement.
And that shop-filled basement is exactly where Andrzej ended up. As he wandered the shops, he saw a flower store. And the lady inside was packing up all their things.
It seemed this shop was closing.
Eager to find a home for his business, Andrzej introduced himself and asked, “What is going to happen to this space?”
The woman shrugged. “We’re moving out.”
“Can I rent the space from you?” Andrzej couldn’t ask the question fast enough. The lady stared at him and nodded, telling him the price of the spot.
“I’ll take it.” They shook on it and Andrzej headed home, beaming.
What’s My Name, Again?
Their store had a location. Now, it just needed a name. Andrzej and Janina discussed it over and over again.
“How about just Andrzej’s?”
Andrzej shook his head. A jewellery store called Andre’s had recently opened downtown. “Andre’s. Andrzej’s. Too similar. It would be confusing.”
Janina agreed, and they kept discussing. Andrzej tossed ideas around his head, thinking deeply to himself. If it could not be Andrzej’s, then what would he call it? It needed to be beautiful and completely unique. Just like his wife’s name.
He looked at Janina. Once he thought of it, it felt obvious. He loved his wife’s name. It should be her name.
“You know. Janina’s would also be very beautiful. Why don’t we call it that?”
And that was it. They would call it: Janina’s.
Ready for part six? Read it now.
This post is part of a ten-part series on the history of Janina’s. To learn more about our local roots – and to stay up-to-date on events and promotions – make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram.