Business

Capital Iron: from scrap heap to retail success

Capital Iron owner Mike Black and cashier Kayla Naphan stop for a photo during a rare quiet moment at the checkout of the new store in Langford. The store hosts its grand opening Saturday (April 12) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 975 Langford Pkwy. - Don Descoteau/News staff
Capital Iron owner Mike Black and cashier Kayla Naphan stop for a photo during a rare quiet moment at the checkout of the new store in Langford. The store hosts its grand opening Saturday (April 12) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 975 Langford Pkwy.
— image credit: Don Descoteau/News staff

There’s no rest for a busy retailer, especially when you’ve got a new store to open.

Mike Black, whose family owns and operates Capital Iron, just got back from a buying trip to Vietnam. He made sure, however, that his schedule allowed him to return in time to see their third store open, at 975  Langford Pkwy. in the former Sandy’s Furniture building.

“We’ve come out to the West Shore to come out to the people,” he says. “We know that’s where the growth is and where the families are, but we also want to be part of the community.”

Since West Shore residents heard the iconic 80-year-old retail company – which began life as a scrap metal dealer – would be opening on the burgeoning Parkway, they’ve shown interest in a couple of ways.

A job fair held in early March attracted about 150 people, mainly locals, Black says. In the end, the new store will have 24 staff, all but one of whom live on the West Shore. The lone exception is store manager Brad Williams, who transferred out from the downtown Victoria store along with a number of other staff.

New cashier Kayla Naphan likes the fact she can walk to work.

“It takes me 20 minutes,” she says. As for her fellow West Shore-based staffers, she says, “They’re all happy to not have to go downtown.”

Sales associate Paul Morrison, who previously worked at Sandy’s, has been struck by the excitement over the impending opening.

“I think there’s a lot of pent-up enthusiasm on the West Shore,” he says. “We’ve literally had people pulling on the door for three months.”

Tapping into the market for outdoor items like patio furniture, hot tubs and barbecues – not to mention the store’s regular fare of housewares, clothing and recreational equipment – is part of the plan, Black says. But he’s just as interested in becoming a community focal point, thus the hiring of local staff who will know many customers personally.

West Shore Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Craig Sorochan says Capital Iron’s expansion into Langford is the latest sign large retailers see the value in locating to where the population base is shifting.

The Langford Parkway corridor, which will also see a new Quality Foods store opening soon, is creating a lot of employment, he adds. And with many young families and retirees moving into the area in the past five to 10 years, there is a still-expanding market into which to tap.

“The West Shore is becoming an area where people from around the region come to shop, even up Island,” Sorochan says.

Capital Iron hosts its grand opening Saturday (April 12, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) with product demonstrations, contests, music and other festivities. Ribbon cutting is at 10 a.m.

Did you know?

• Capital Iron, owned by the Black family: Mike, wife Eveline and children Nick and Kylie, is the 2014 winner of the Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Award given by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise. The award recognizes the achievements of Canadian family businesses and the vital contribution they make to their local communities.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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