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Photo caption: Dale Moberg with the Wishing Tree he and his wife, Kelly, started at Pyramid Building Supplies in 1992.
Headline: Creston's Pyramid Building Supplies celebrating 25th Christmas Wishing Tree
BY BRIAN LAWRENCE
I Love Creston Editor
The Wishing Tree at Pyramid Building Supplies isn’t put up and decorated until after Remembrance Day, but that doesn’t stop generous members of the community from anticipating the Christmas spirit it creates.
“People phone at the beginning of November wondering when we’re putting the tree up — they’re wanting and waiting to give,” says Pyramid co-owner Dale Moberg.
This is the 25th year for the tree, which allows the public to buy children and teens gifts that are distributed in the Creston Ministerial Association’s annual Christmas hampers. The process is simple: Visit Pyramid, pick a tag off the Wishing Tree, buy a present for the age and gender on the tag, and then return it unwrapped to Pyramid, this year by Dec. 10.
The idea was inspired after Moberg and his wife, Kelly, attended a trade show in Vancouver, where a motivational speaker urged attendees to become more involved in their communities. The inspiring words were all they could think about on the trip back to Creston.
“We had an eight-hour talk about how we could step up and help out,” says Moberg.
It wasn’t a stretch for them to focus their efforts on children.
“We love kids,” says Moberg. “I coached young kids’ softball for six years while my daughters were growing up. This is our third year of coaching curling. I love putting a smile on kids’ faces.”
About 150 gifts were donated in the first year, and the average had hovered just over 200 since.
“This community is such a fantastic community that way,” says Moberg. “It’s very, very giving.”
Moberg is no stranger to helping out the less fortunate — he’s been doing so since he was young.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the needy,” he says. “As a child, I always passed my lunch around to others who needed it.”
A few regular donors participate each year, including one woman who brings in stuffed bears. One man buys gifts for older children and teens; the demographic is more difficult to buy for, so donations for those ages tend to be fewer.
“He comes through in a big way.”
And if anything is still needed by the time the collection period is finished, the many cash donations are given to Pyramid are put to good use.
“Whatever’s lacking at the end, we’ll pick up ourselves,” says Moberg. “We make sure the boxes are full.” •
Photo caption: Chad Wobshall (right) with (from left) his wife, Jessica, and their children, Briley and Hailey.
Headline: Crate-ivity on display at Creston's Kootenay Crate Co.
BY BRIAN LAWRENCE
I Love Creston Editor
Nightstands. Entertainment units. Wine racks. Serving trays. One downtown Creston store offers them all, and with a rustic design found nowhere else.
“People don’t really see stuff like this,” says Kootenay Crate Co. owner Chad Wobshall. “Unique and handmade is the draw. ... People are a little bit sick of Ikea furniture — you get it home and put it together, and it’s all particle board.”
Kootenay Crate Co. follows a different philosophy, though, with wood assembled and stained by hand, a process that customers appreciate.
“People have bought into the brand,” says Wobshall. “They want the Kootenay crate.”
The distinct style has earned the company a following outside the Creston Valley, with photos on social media receiving thousands of likes and shares, even in its early days.
“That’s where the business basically got its legs,” says Wobshall.
It all got started in 2014 when he and his wife, Jessica, visited yard sales and bought crates, which they stained and started selling in groups on Facebook. When Wobshall decided to try his hand at making his own crates, he was fortunate to be working at the WynnWood sawmill, which allowed employees to take home scraps.
“I had my buddies coming out with an armload every day,” he says.
It progressed naturally from there, and Kootenay Crate Co. has since turned out over 12,000 pieces since.
“We never forced anything. ... They come from people’s ideas,” says Wobshall. “We don’t want to get too crazy. We have more luck doing what people ask for — we do a couple of them and see what happens.”
For example, a customer who needed something to hold records led to the creation of LP-sized crates.
Other businesses have found the crates useful, as well, taking advantage of their versatility to create commercial displays for trade shows.
“They pack stuff in crates and then set them up.”
Wholesale orders are also a big part of the business, with such stores as Leon’s Furniture in Lethbridge, Alta., and, closer to home, the Bedroom Furniture Galleries in Cranbrook offering the wood products. On occasion, customers spotting the crates elsewhere appreciate the chance to check them out while visiting Creston.
“People see them in stores, and they come to town and say, ‘I want one,’ ” says Wobshall.
The business had no storefront until he started a shop on Northwest Boulevard in April 2015, eventually moving downtown six months ago. The change created a significant increase in traffic.
“You’d see 20 or 30 people on a Tuesday or Wednesday,” says Wobshall. “Here, in the summer, we see 150, especially after the farmers’ market.”
Developing a business was important to Wobshall, who was born and raised in Creston — and didn’t want to leave.
“I’ve always known I wanted to stay in Creston,” he says. “All my friends in high school wanted to leave, and I just wanted to stay and get a foothold so I could afford to stay here.”
The colour names for his products reflect his passion for the Creston Valley, with Mount Thompson, Kokanee, Sam Steele, the Canyon trestle, Goat River and Twin Bays among the namesakes.
“A lot of people will quote the names when they order something,” he says.
Most customers don’t like to get too wild with colours, though; neutral tones are consistently popular, with interest in red climbing around Christmas. When creating storage units, many will opt for a natural colour for the base, adding coloured crates for a pop.