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The Question of Money: The History of Janina's Part Seven

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A Question At the Bank

“So, what brings you in today?” Andrzej was sitting in the bank, staring at a man who would decide his fate. He’d already been to the lawyer to incorporate the business. Now, he needed to open up a bank account and secure a loan.

“Well, I’m opening a business. And I need a bank account for my business and to borrow some money.”

“Okay, well, let’s start with your business plan.”

“Business plan?”

The man looked at him. “Yes, your business plan. For your loan.”

Andrzej didn’t fully understand. “What do you mean, business plan?”

The man laughed. “Well, I mean, what are you planning to do with your business?”

“Oh, yes,” Andrzej smiled. “It’s called, ‘Janina’s.’ I will be a goldsmith. Fix the jewellery and sell it and that’s my business.”

“Alright,” the man nodded, “And what sales profit do you project to generate in an average month?”

Andrzej shook his head. “I don’t know.”

The man stopped. “What about sales within the first year? First five years?”

“I have no idea!”

“Well, sir, what kind of savings do you have for this business? What do you plan to buy with your savings?”

That was something Andrzej knew. He’d always kept careful track of the money coming in and going out, and he’d discussed how much he could invest with Janina just last night.

“I have $30,000.”

“And, how much do you plan to use for the business?”

“Well, that’s what I want to invest. $30,000.”

“Okay, and how much money do you want from the bank?”

“I don’t want any money. Not right now.”

The man stopped again and smiled. “I thought you wanted a loan.”

“I want money if I need money. But I don’t want to have it unless I need it.”

For a moment, the man thought. Then, he said, “Okay, I’ll tell you what we can do for you, what I can do for you. I’m going to open up something called an operating account. So, it’ll give you a bit of freedom to use the money when you need it. Now, if you’re putting in $30,000, I’ll match that on our end. So, you can go and buy your jewellery or whatever you need and then you can pay it back as you can. Does that sound good?”

“I don’t have to take it all at once?”

“No, it’s really just there as you need it.”

Andrzej smiled. “It’s perfect.”

The First Twenty-Six Pieces

Money in hand, Andrzej headed back to Edmonton with a clear goal: to fill the display cases. Or maybe not fill, so much as start to fill.

And, after finding a company that could sell a few chains, engagement rings, and wedding bands, that’s what he did. He brought back twelve gold chains, seven rings, and seven matching wedding bands.

A small start, but a good start. He returned to Grande Praire and put each piece, carefully, into its case.

The first few customers were wary. Andrzej could hardly blame them. He’d imagined a store full of dazzling necklaces and rings, a store that shined. Janina was a beautiful name after all, and Janina’s should be a beautiful store. It should match.

The store on opening day was nice. It was fine, really. But, only so much could be done to make twenty-six pieces of jewellery look dazzling.

And, to be fair, they were twenty-six pieces of fine jewellery. The showcases were beautiful – perfectly polished and shining – but everything looked empty. And, an empty jewellery store was a bit… odd.

One of his first customers was a woman who, after taking a peek at the gold chains, asked Andrzej in a warm voice, “Where are the rest of them? The chains?”

Andrzej smiled and said, with pride, “This is everything.”

The woman looked confused. “These are all the chains you have?”

Andrzej’s smile didn’t fade. “Yes, yes, we have a nice selection.” The woman smiled, politely, so he continued. “You see, we have the box-link chain, right here. We have the curb chain, right there.”

“And, so,” the woman pursed her lips, “That’s everything then?”

Andrzej paused. “Errr, well, yes. But we have a very nice variety.”

“Well. Thank you so much.” The lady smiled, pulled at her coat, and left.

Andrzej sighed and looked around the store until his eyes settled on the sign. The name. Janina’s. It was such a beautiful name. It should be such a beautiful store.

He looked down into the display case, at the box chain and the curb chain, and smiled. It was such a beautiful name and it would be such a beautiful store.

Ready for part eight? 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