Demand for all things British still high in Steveston

Owners of new British store confident there are still enough U.K. ex-pats around in Richmond

It didn’t take long for the “old country” void to be filled in Steveston.

A little more than two months after Mary Carter said goodbye to 35 years of Mary’s British Store, another Brit, Lenny Entwistle, will step in to satisfy the cravings of U.K. ex-pats and those of homeland heritage.

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Entwistle, already a dual village business owner with a beauty parlour and vintage store of her own name, will open “Steveston’s Best of British” at the beginning of November on First Avenue and Chatham Street, along with fellow local business person Elly Fenton, an Australian, who operates Robel Income Tax Service.

And despite her predecessor claiming that most of her U.K.-descent client base has packed up and migrated to the Fraser Valley, Entwistle is adamant there remains a high demand for all things British.

“I’ve been trying to buy Mary’s store for years; but she kept knocking me back,” laughed Entwistle, who grew up in Newcastle, in the north-east of England, but has lived in Canada for 35 years.

“The support I’ve received already has been amazing. There is a lot of people heading out east into the valley, but there are still a lot of people living around here who want this; there is still a lot of people around here with British heritage.

“The buzz I’m getting right now is that there are customers here.”

Entwistle has managed to retain the services of three of Carter’s former staff, who’ll help them get the store off the ground at the old 4Cats studio.

“It’s fantastic having them, as they all know what sells and what doesn’t. Having them is like having a turnkey operation,” added Entwistle.

She said the new store is going to be “bigger, brighter and less cluttered” than what people were used to.

As for her Aussie business partner, Entwistle said she might let Fenton bring in some Vegemite.

“We’re also going to have a wish list board up. If people can’t find what they’re looking for, we’ll do our best to get it for them.”

Entwistle said they could have opened up for business sooner, but she and Fenton had long-term plans to travel to India before the opportunity to open a British store came about.

In August, the Richmond News reported how Carter, 82, was closing her Chatham Street shop at the end of that month and moving the operation to Langley, where she lives.

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