Displays, Road Trips & Newborns
The year had somehow become 1986. Andrzej and Janina welcomed their second child, Peter, in July, a warm indication of the life they were building in Canada. He continued working at Safeway, saving all the money he could for his family’s future and his shop.
Or, more appropriately, their shop. He was sure it was the right decision to use Janina’s name for the store. And, with both the name and the location determined, Andrzej thought of what needed to be done next. The biggest thing on his list? Finding showcases for the jewellery.
This, Andrzej decided, required a trip to Edmonton. He trekked down there, on a mission to find some furnishings to fill his store. After driving around the city, he finally found a store that was moving – either due to a closure or a relocation. Andrzej asked to speak with the owner.
After some introductions, Andrzej gestured to the furniture.
“Are you selling these?”
The man nodded. “Yes, you interested?”
“Yes, yes. How much are you willing to sell the showcases?”
“Make me an offer.”
“I cannot.” Andrzej shook his head. He was working on a budget, a tight budget. Any offer he made wouldn’t be enough.
“Yes, you can. How much are you willing to give me?”
“No,” Andrzej insisted, “I cannot give you an offer because you would never accept it.”
“No, no.” The man was firm. “You tell me how much you would pay for them. Then, I’ll tell you if I’ll let them go.”
“You’ll never take it,” Andrzej cautioned. He thought quickly about what to offer. Was $300 too little? What about $500? How high should he go?
Andrzej thought for a moment, eyeing the display cases. “How about three hundred dollars?”
That got him a quick smile and firm nod. “I’ll take it.”
Andrzej nearly danced from the building. Showcases? Check. Off the list. He jumped in his car, cranked the music, and began driving home to Grande Prairie.
About halfway back, as he was thinking of who he could call to help him move the showcases from Edmonton to Grande Prairie, Andrzej realized that was likely why the owner let the display cases go for so cheap. The cost of hiring movers could run into the thousands. Instead, Andrzej had paid him and was going to remove the furniture himself.
Andrzej smiled and turned up the music. It didn’t matter why. He had what he needed to open his store.
Finding the Money
When he made it back, Andrzej cleaned up the rental space and headed right back to Edmonton with some Polish friends. Together, they moved the display cases into a vehicle and drove them to their new home: Janina’s.
So, he had the display cases. He had a name. All that was left was to fill the store with products: rings, chains, pendants, and everything else beautiful. In his head, the vision was clear. Janina’s would sell gorgeous pieces – but how many to start with?
Andrzej and Janina sat down together to assess. For several years now, both had worked any job they could find. At the time, Janina worked as a nurse at the QEII hospital. Andrzej worked at Safeway.
Every month, when the paychecks came in, they divided it out: this much went to food and that much paid the rent. The rest had gone into a bank account, where it was tucked away. They didn’t eat out. They didn’t go to the movies. They had saved every last penny they could.
But, both knew they’d need a bit of help to make it work.
It was a quick discussion with a straightforward outcome: Andrzej would need to go to the bank the next day and ask for a loan.
“How much will you ask for?” Janina questioned.
Andrzej shrugged. “As much as they can give.”
Ready for part seven? 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.