Heirloom Linens is a real live "bricks and mortar" store, located in Broadmead Village Shopping Centre, in Victoria, BC. We have been in business since 1995 and conducting business via the internet since 1999. 2008 was renovation and expansion time for us. Our Broadmead Village store was completely renovated and we expanded the location by 50%.
The store is owned and operated by Joan & Bob Ianson. Sarah (Store Manager Broadmead Village) and our staff, very much enjoy the linen business and this dedication and product knowledge is evident if you ever have the occasion to chat with them.
Joan had aspirations, when Heirloom Linens opened the doors back in 1995, to oversee the financial aspects of the store, but she too has been "bitten by the bug" and now lives, eats and breathes Heirloom Linens.
Bob began his career with Woodward's Department Stores in the early 70's and yes...joined the linen department as a stock boy. When he left Woodward's fifteen years later, he was the bedding buyer for several million dollars of product and store locations in BC and Alberta. A two year stint with Pacific Linen in Seattle only reinforced his desire to launch his own operation. This prompted a move to Victoria and the opening of Heirloom Linens. Now many years later, as the saying goes... the rest is history.
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Times Colonist Newspaper June 2012
"It's been quite a week for Bob Ianson.
The co-owner of Heirloom Linens in Broadmead Village celebrated the 17th anniversary of the business with his wife, Joan. The couple's daughter delivered their first grandchild. The business donated $4,000 to Victoria Hospice through its annual garage sale event.
And now Ianson is being inducted into the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame.
"I haven't had time to catch my breath," Ianson said.
Ianson was one of eight independent retailers from across Canada to receive the Retail Council of Canada's highest honour.
Normally reserved for founders and CEOs of big corporate stores, this year's induction marks a significant shift to honour small businesses which, when combined, are some of the biggest economic generators and employers in Canada.
The Retail Council and several small business organizations in Canada, including Shelf Space in B.C. and Alberta, are in the process of merging. Ianson and the other inductees were part of a task force formed to study the merger on behalf of independent businesses.
"The Retail Council has usually focused its attention on the big players and larger stores, but they are seeing the importance of the smaller independents," said Ianson.
"It's a huge honour to get into the council's hall of fame," he added. Ianson, 57, has spent nearly 40 years in retail - all of it in the bed and bath sector.
He joined Woodward's in 1975 at Mayfair Shopping Centre, working his way up the corporate chain to a buyer with transfers to Vancouver and then Calgary.
With the demise of Woodward's, Ianson was headhunted by Seattle-based Pacific Linens and helped the company set up 10 stores in Canada. After Pacific Linens ran into financial difficulties, Ianson and wife Joan made the decision to go into business for themselves and opened Heirloom Linens in Broadmead Village. "I had enough of companies going broke," said Ianson. "I said at the time 'I could probably do that myself.' "
They opened Heirloom Linens on June 25, 1995, and quickly earned a reputation for quality goods and topnotch service. Their slogan - It Only Sounds Expensive - was testament to the couple's strong buying channels and loyal following.
"We've always treated our customers well" through quality products and service, said Ianson. "Staff have a broad product knowledge and our return policy is like that of the big stores. If you don't like it when you get it home or made a wrong measurement for sheets, bring it back."
Returned items are resold at Heirloom Linen's annual garage sale fundraising event.
This month, the company turned over $4,000 to the Victoria Hospice. Last year, more than $7,000 was raised for Jeneece Place for visiting families of children needing medical care at Victoria General Hospital.
"We enjoy the business and we enjoy satisfied customers," said Ianson, who celebrates his 35th anniversary with Joan this year.
"On behalf of the retail industry we are proud to honour this outstanding group of retailers for their vision and commitment to entrepreneurship," Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council, said in a statement. "As members of the council's Independent Retailer Task Force, this group enabled us to chart a course that, at its core, focused on providing community involvement, leadership development and lifelong learning opportunities for independent retailers and their employees across Canada."
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