BUSINESS BEAT: Design suppliers hit target market in Victoria

Professional designers avoid having to travel to mainland for samples, advice

Designer Linda Hutchinson

The door is locked, but there is clearly activity happening inside the shop at 1111 Fort St.

Jan Wallace, co-proprietor of the Trade Source Design Center, leaves a client to welcome the new visitor into an airy space that appears one part retail, one part lending library. Fabric samples neatly sorted by colour and manufacturer line one wall, while flooring displays, rugs and drapery hardware, are interspersed with well-lit scenes combining various products.

A client holding a cluster of full-sized fabric samples – not merely swatches – approaches a binder on the large counter in the middle of one half of the showroom. Wallace instruct her how to sign out the samples, which may well wind up spread across someone’s kitchen table.

“We have 70,000 fabrics that they could possibly choose from,” Wallace says later.

Make no mistake. This not a retail shop catering to customers off the street. Wallace and business partner Phil Burton, both of whom are also wholesale reps, opened the centre earlier this year to help professional designers avoid the cost and hassle of making a trip to the mainland to deal with wholesale suppliers.

“We just needed a place to put all our samples,” Burton jokes, but only partially.

Linda Hutchinson with Oak Bay-based Design One Stevens is working with Wallace on this day on a big job. Hutchinson is “stoked” at having so many options available to bring quickly to clients.

“This is like being in a candy store for a designer,” she says.

Michelle Matte, on hand checking out flooring options for a client, notes that having access to more products – not to mention the ability to pay wholesale prices closer to home – creates efficiencies for people in the trade.

“It’s nice to be working with Jan and Phil; they’re very knowledgeable,” Matte says. “This helps us go the extra mile for our clients.”

Wallace and Burton host their clients and anyone in the design industry for an official grand opening tomorrow (Oct. 18) between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., then 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 250-818-8336 or visit tradesourcedesigncenter.com.

Victoria online learning company cleans up

Victoria-based MediaCore Technologies was the big winner in the B.C. Innovation Council’s New Ventures Competition. The cloud-based online learning provider won the $100,000 first prize as overall winner of the six-month long contest. It also won a spot in BCIC’s Plug and Play Tech Centre startup acceleration program – a prize worth $10,000 – as the top-performing information communication technology company in the competition. Visit mediacore.com to learn more.

Victoria AM fundraiser turns back the clock

Cruise tourism greeters Victoria AM is marking the city’s 150th anniversary and its own 28th birthday with a special fundraiser for its activities on Oct. 26.

Attendees of A Victorian Affair are requested to wear historical, hysterical or even slightly risqué apparel with a touch of class. Prize draws, a silent auction and a dinner/dance are part of the evening.

The event happens from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, 728 Humboldt St. Tickets are $80 each, available online at victoriaam.com or at the Victoria AM office on Pier A at Ogden Point.

Public speaking boot camp upcoming

Sarah Daviau of Piece of Cake Communications is hosting a half-day workshop billed as a “public speaking boot camp” on Saturday, Oct. 27. Topics covered are designed to help anyone lose their fear of speaking in public and in networking situations. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway, 829 McCallum Rd. near Costco in Langford. Cost is $99 until Oct. 19, $109 after that until deadline of Oct. 25. Register at  www.regimojo.com/registrations/64/forms.

Liquor stores featuring best of B.C. wines

B.C. liquor distribution branch Signature Store at Fort Street and Foul Bay Road is spotlighting a special offering of B.C. wines from some of the province’s award-winning producers. The ninth annual Best of B.C. promotion includes a selection of 11 wines, primarily of the 2009 vintage, that earned the 2012 Lieutenant Governor’s Award. The winners were chosen from a record 347 wines submitted by 94 different B.C. wineries. Visit bcliquorstores.com for more information.

Building mechanical firm opens 24/7 service division

Cobble Hill-based Harbour Side Mechanical Inc. has opened up a dedicated service shop at 601A Alpha St. in Victoria for residential and commercial plumbing and heating customers. Managed by Jordan Pringle, the shop offers service and repairs on a 24/7 basis anywhere from Nanaimo south. For more information, visit harboursidemechanical.ca or call 1-877-703-2487.

Business goings-on around and about town

Longtime West Shore fixture Canada Laminate and Hardwood is moving from its Langford location to new digs at 2521 Government St. near Bay Street as of Oct. 22. The space has been the home to Reno Bikes. Company founder Randy Dunn and thanks the West Shore community for their support … Viking Air in Sidney and Esquimalt-based Archipelago Marine Research are finalists for the 2012 B.C. Export Awards. Viking is nominated for the Premier’s Award for job creation, while Archipelago is a nominee in the Natural Resources category.

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