Starting a new business during a pandemic is definitely unconventional, but the Geddie family is known for bucking trends and making the most of any situation.
Heather Geddie came to Chemainus to stay last November and opened Calypso Jewelry Design on Chemainus Road May 11 after the affects of COVID-19 were firmly entrenched. Sister Dawn is right next door with a revamped La Petite Auction House that’s been turned into a retail store since the pandemic.
The rationale for establishing Calypso Jewelry Design was simple for Heather Geddie.
“I had bins and bins of jewelry and no place to put them and no place to sell them,” she said.
Geddie used to come to Chemainus in the past and had it in the back of her mind for relocating.
“I fell in love with the place and the people and it just recharged my soul,” she reasoned.
“I’m happy to be here. This is my happy place.”
Her business is located in a former longshoreman’s union office that more recently served as a storage area for La Petite Auction House. Geddie adapted it to suit her needs.
“I live here, 323 square feet of paradise,” she added. “I made great use of the space. It’s been wonderful.”
Geddie’s never had a storefront before which is kind of surprising, considering her background. She’s the oldest of five children, with another sister, Leslie, along with Dawn. Geddie also has a brother George in Edmonton and younger brother Scott died at age 56 the same year as her mom died.
Geddie said her mom was a gypsy – although she would never admit it – and dad worked as a boilermaker and welder while the family moved around a lot. Geddie figures she attended 21 schools all across the country before Grade 11.
“All of us Geddie kids are the same,” she indicated. “We can’t stay in any one place for any amount of time.
“We recognize opportunities when we see them. We create them when we don’t.”
Geddie has three children and five grandchildren. The place she set down roots the longest was Edmonton and she returned there from 2011-2019 that included the time she devoted to looking after her mom, who was 96 when she died.
“We had six wonderful years together,” noted Geddie.
Packing up her accumulation of jewelry and heading to Chemainus was kind of ironic since she hasn’t always possessed a large amount of it.
“I never even wore jewelry,” Geddie conceded.
“When I was 52, one of my granddaughters bought me a stretchy ankle bracelet and I lost it. I took her to a local bead store and I said ‘let’s make another one.’”
Calypso Jewelry Design is named after her granddaughter Calypso Budge, who will be 18 in October and lives in Edmonton with Geddie’s son Bill.
“She’s thrilled to have a business named after her,” said Geddie. “That’s the downside of moving. I miss them very much.”
Geddie integrated herself into the community after arriving in Chemainus, with her work displayed at the Rainforest Arts Gallery while visiting sister Dawn to purchase items from the Auction House, but she never intended to open a shop initially.
“It just kind of all fell together,” she said. “It was just meant to be. It’s gone remarkably well. Not only do I sell and on the web, I do jewelry repairs.”
She also does jewelry redesigns amid a repertoire that’s in keeping with the Geddie tradition.
“We love a challenge,” she laughed. “I’ve got a lot of customers that come in for their redesigns.”