Are you looking for new knives? Furniture, clothing, fireworks? It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is that you are looking for, it is probably being sold at the Decker Lake Trading Post.
A few years ago, owner Lawrence Hallgren had a customer from Sweden asking for directions and looking to purchase some items. Hallgren said he helped him out and provided great customer service. The Swedish guy left, but decided to return to the shop after a few minutes. The man wanted to give Hallgren a gift to thank him for all his help – a knife only made in Sweden. Hallgren said he was extremely grateful for the gift. However, he was hoping the traveller wouldn’t notice that his shop carried almost 200 knives of the exact same kind.
In fact, the slogan of the Decker Lake Trading Post is, “we have 8000 items; we dare you to count them all.”
From household items, to confectionary, to clothing, to furniture – this new and used merchandise store has it all. Not to mention, the shop claims to be the largest fireworks dealer in Northwest B.C.
Variety might have been one of the factors that kept the shop in business for 25 years, but it’s certainly not the only factor. Lawrence guarantees that the products they sell also have great quality.
“Our used furniture is 99 per cent solid wood; no cheap board,” he said.
The Decker Lake Trading Post started in July of 1990, including two buildings and a gas station. Lawrence runs the business along with his wife Helen and their daughter Janet Macadam. Needless to say their 25 years in business have given them many stories to share. When asked about memorable moments, their answer was quite simple.
“We have one every day,” they said laughing.
“I would say that I love my job because in the summer we have people from all over the world that stop and visit,” said Macadam. “Lots of interesting people.”
In the shop’s visitor book, where customers can leave their mark, there are signatures of visitors from Australia, England, Belgium, France, United States, Holland and Spain.
The business is located by Hwy. 16 in Decker Lake, which means that all drivers passing through town can see their business façade. Although locals also purchase from the shop, Lawrence said that 80 per cent of customers are people driving through the highway.
“A lot of tourists come up from the coast or in from Alberta and go up the Alaska Highway to the Yukon,” explained Lawrence. “When they come back they come through this way.”
Together, Lawrence and Helen have had 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson. They still don’t know if their offspring will take over the business in the future. What is clear, however, is that the couple has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“When I started the business in 1990, I was 50 years old,” said Lawrence. “I had big visions of retiring when I was 55; then I changed it to 65; and now it’s 85.”
What they don’t say – but is clear to anyone who walks in – is that their charisma and great customer service is one of the factors behind their success. In fact, the shop’s variety, affordable prices and great customer service make it extremely hard for people to leave empty handed.