In 1979 Linda Henry (Fletcher), bought a little shop on Asher road in Rutland called Valley Canvas and Awning. I couldn’t have known it then but she would later become my stepmom. In 1982 Linda moved the shop to Springfield road where she had much of her family working with her. Connie Brummet, Linda’s daughter, did the custom sewing and was very talented.
In 1989, I came aboard and Connie took me under her wing and taught me how to sew, which I found out I truly enjoyed. Around the same time my uncle Steve Klassen moved to Kelowna, left the construction trade and began working for Linda, skinning and installing awnings. It was a family affair and we learned a lot about the trade in all its aspects.
Steve and I were just beginning our newfound careers but Linda decided it was time for her to change direction and put the shop up for sale. The new owners were completely green so it really gave Steve and I the opportunity to expand our knowledge while teaching the new owners. After a few years the shop went up for sale again, I stayed on, Steve did not.
Once again I was dealing with new owners and in the meantime Steve had become partners at the competition Artistic Awning. I gave him one year to settle in then began begging him for a job, thank goodness his partner at the time was such a nice guy and agreed to hire me.
For the next 14 years we had a great time working together. We learned a lot about customer service and found our niche in the market. As all good things must eventually end, Steve’s partner retired and Steve moved to Vernon leaving me to ponder my future.
I have always lived on the Westside so I decided it was time to write my own chapter and start up a canvas and awning shop close to home. I have been on the Westside since 2010 and as history can sometimes repeat itself, Steve has
now come to work with me at Westside Canvas with his son-in law, Winston Butt, who is now learning the awning and screen business, keeping it a family affair.
We are excited to see where the future will take us from here.