Most people heard that Sears went under a few years ago, but not everybody knows that the local store associated with the business refused to sink with that ship and instead turned into an independent, family-operated local business.
The elegant and filled with light Estevan Appliances and Furniture showroom, also known as HomEstevan, is located at 1216 Fourth Street. A wide variety of items available in the store helps customers turn every house into a comfortable and cozy home
The Mercury talked to Shane Winter, the owner of the Estevan Appliances and Furniture, about the store, and its past, present and future plans.
Born and raised in Regina, Winter moved to Alberta to take care of his grandfather’s farm after his grandfather’s death. After 20 years of farming experience, he decided to come back to Saskatchewan.
“I felt that it was time to do that,” said Winter.
He started working with Sears back in 2008, with one store in Estevan and another one in Brooks, Alta.
“Back then I figured Sears was a good company to be associated with. My grandma worked with Sears for years and years, and they were a good company then. We thought it would be a good opportunity to start a business that had a good name to it,” recalled Winter.
But the economy made a flip, changing it for thousands of business operators. Winter decided to go independent, stay in Estevan and make the Energy City his permanent place of residence.
“Estevan has been very welcoming to me … I gained some good friendships here, some good customers that slowly trickled down into my independent business. That definitely helped me to stay afloat,” said Winter.
Despite the challenges, Winter chose to keep bringing people a great choice of good quality appliance and furniture.
He also met his wife Nadia in Estevan, and now the Winters help each other at the store, striving to ensure that customers get what fits their needs.
“I get as much customer service as possible. My wife Nadia helps me out currently. She can watch the store sometimes when I go out. We are here six days a week,” said Winter.
Even though it brought some challenges, especially in the beginning, running an independent business turned out to be a positive change. It's now up to the owner to decide on what to have on the floor and what better serves the clients, and the assortment keeps changing and developing.
Just recently Winter brought in Samsung appliances as well as an Mlily mattress line, which seems to be quite popular with the customers.
While in most cases there is some waiting time for appliance delivery, Winter usually tries to have one piece on the floor and one in stock in case customers want it right away. He explained that delivery time usually depends on the supplier.
“With Frigidaire it comes rather quickly, so I don’t have to do that as much. Samsung has a longer turn around, anywhere from four to six weeks for me to get a fridge for (customers). I’m trying to double up with those companies. And same with mattresses, I’m trying to keep a couple of them in stock that are the most popular.”
Winter added that these days people's shopping style has changed. Customers are still looking for a quality product, but the opportunities the Internet opened definitely changed the shopping experience. People usually know what they want, especially with appliances. They do their research prior to coming into the store, and Winter helps them with insights and recommendations on particular models.
Over 10 years of experience allows Winter to find the best solutions for each situation, which is one of his favourite parts of the job.
“I like working with the public. I enjoy meeting new people … and helping people out whenever I can,” said Winter.
He always was known for doing his best to come up with suggestions for his clients in any financial situation. Now he is also working to bring the financing options in to make it easier for the customers to instantly feather their nests the way they really want it without waiting.
“Hopefully soon I will have financing available for our customers that want to finance. But it’s been a process,” said Winter.
He added that they hope to have this option available this August.
In the meantime, he continues doing his best to serve the community.
“Thank you to Estevan for their continued support and I look forward to seeing them in the future. What this is all about is making new friends and being a friend of the community.”