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Big surprise down a Coombs country road
It’s easy to get Bamboozled down a rural road near Coombs.
Nearly 1,200 people a week do it between May and November every year, said Diana Lagah, the owner of Bamboozle on Shawn Road in Coombs, a unique retail outlet featuring women’s clothing and much more.
‘Retail outlet’ hardly does justice to the setting and set-up of this shop. After taking a turn off the Alberni Highway, one travels over the railway tracks and down a road that one would expect to see small farms selling eggs or honey.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, or in the middle of nowhere, you see a dozen or so cars parked on the soft shoulder and wonder what exactly is going on here.
When you enter the property you see a house. Sure, it’s not your average-looking house from the outside, but the surprises mount as you enter the residence. Each room — what could be a dining room or bathroom or bedroom — is packed full of cleverly-displayed dresses, clothing, accessories, home furnishings. Each room has a different scheme and on this day, each room is busy with shoppers.
“People are surprised to find something of this nature up a country road,” said Lagah, who is marking her 25th year in retail, the first 11 as owner of Parksville store A to Zebra.
The operation is truly a family affair. Lagah and her husband Piara bought the property roughly 15 years ago as a 2.5-acre bare lot. Diana designed the buildings, Piara, a retired home builder, constructed them. One of the buildings now on site is a Tea House — also featuring women’s clothes, accessories and unique treasures — owned and operated by the couple’s daughter Danielle.
The entire property has a worldly feel to it, and that’s not a surprise considering the globetrotting Diana and Danielle do to fill their rooms, stopping in places like Northern India, New York, California and Mexico.
“I call it fashion, home decor and intrigues,” Diana said of her stock, “one-of-a-kind pieces that may turn up in some part of the world in our travels. We look for quality, fashion-forward, unusual items that are also at a good price point, good value for the dollar — it’s more of a lifestyle store.”
The store, or house, has about 2,000 square feet of space to display the treasure Diana has found on her travels. The Tea House is about 800 square feet.
Diana was asked what she thinks has changed in retail over the past quarter century.
“Customers are much more design savvy, well travelled and more price aware than 25 years ago,” she said.
Retail can be tough. What keeps Diana motivated? “I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t shopping,” she said. “Shopping is my addiction.”
Bamboozle is located at 774 Shawn Road and is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, May through November.