The Arrival of a New Clothing Store Has Steveston Buzzing
Earlier this summer social media was abuzz when Hunni’s made the announcement a new location was set to open in Steveston village. Fans of the trendy women’s clothing boutique, and there are many of them, with an impressive 41,000 on Facebook alone, were chatting about when this exciting development was going to take place.
Judging by the reaction, the second Hunni’s is destined to become as popular as the original Langley shop, founded in 2004 by entrepreneur twin sisters Christi Hunniford and Danielle (Hunniford) Stratuliak. Steveston residents and husband and wife duo, Chris and Jenelle Marshall, are the owners of the first Hunni’s franchise.
Originally from Kelowna, the Marshalls relocated to Vancouver in 2009 when Chris’ place of employment, Crown Packaging, shut down. The company offered him an attractive transfer to join their Richmond manufacturing plant. Jenelle was a social worker and Vancouver offered her many job opportunities. At the time the couple had no children and jumped at the opportunity.
“Life takes you where you’re supposed to go.” Chris Marshall
Chris says, “We spent four years living in a downtown Vancouver condo and enjoyed music, wine and good food. In 2012 we had our daughter Presley, and in 2013 we found our home in Steveston.” Jenelle chimes in, “We fell in love with Steveston right away. When we were in Kelowna people told us to check out the village. We got an immediate sense of community.”
How did the opportunity to own and operate Steveston’s Hunni’s come about? Chris worked with Curtis Stratuliak (husband of Danielle (Hunniford) Stratuliak) at Richmond’s Crown Packaging. They had discussed the possibility of future business opportunities; Curtis approached the Marshalls in March 2015, hoping they would be interested in opening a Hunni’s. Jenelle was pregnant at the time with their son Rex (who is now one-year-old) and they delayed the invitation for a year.
Chris explains, “Our intent was never to franchise per se, but to open a shop we could call our own, and working with Hunni’s allowed us to do so with some heavy duty support on the back-end. It’s a unique opportunity and we are very excited.”
“We wanted to live, work and play in the village.” Jenelle Marshall
They were aware there was a fashion shortfall for their particular demographic in south Richmond. Combining Chris’ talent for marketing and accounting with Jenelle’s passion for clothing (she confesses that her sister, her mother and herself have always been professional shoppers) and her ability to work in a busy, public environment was a natural fit.
Later this summer Jenelle will work in the shop full-time alongside Hunni’s staff who all happen to be Stevestonites. Each have their areas of expertise and Jenelle and Chris have been very impressed by their assorted talents. Chris is continuing his career with Crown Packaging, in addition to providing behind the scenes support for their new business.
Jenelle says, “We are confident that Hunni’s will be a positive influence on the neighbourhood where we plan to raise our children. We see this as an opportunity to further immerse ourselves in our community.”
Big advocates of shopping locally, they hope to attract customers not only to Hunni’s but also to explore other businesses in the village.
The store opened on June 15 and has received glowing feedback. People are very happy Hunni’s has arrived. They are enjoying more clothing options in the village and appreciate the shop’s aesthetics. The Marshalls had expected primarily 20 to 45 year old clients but have been pleasantly surprised to discover a diverse age range of customers happily shopping at the store.
Hunni’s is known for carrying a large number of unique and affordable labels not found at the mall. Up to seventy per cent of the lines are created by boutique designers from Langley, Squamish, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Other popular brands such as Billabong, Element and Hurley are also carried. Jenelle points out, “West Coast inspired fashion reflects what’s going on here. It is very seasonal and functional wear.”
This summer flirty festival fashion has been all the rage. What can you expect to find at Hunni’s for fall? Think cozy and retro, as 1970s inspired flare jeans will be making a comeback paired with warm layers of knit sweaters, plaid flannel shirts and topped with a vest or leather jacket. Hunni’s also sells a selection of footwear. Jenelle points out, “Ankle booties are likely here to stay and have already proven to be a hit in the village.”
Chris says, “We’re both excited about the 70s throwback that seems to be popular now. That tends to be the generation we identify with in the arts and music.”
September is synonymous with back to school and students need head no further than Hunni’s to find backpacks. Vancouver based company Herschel Supply Co. makes backpacks with a heritage vibe that have proven to be a hit with the high school crowd. Herschel backpacks come in many styles and fabrics; some are reminiscent of vintage Boy Scout bags made of canvas with leather straps. Ipad cases will also be available.
In their free time the couple can be found out with their children and their pug named Jude (as in “Hey Jude”). They point out their daughter is a social butterfly and knows many of the merchants at their favourite Steveston shops. They enjoy the local music scene and take advantage of all that is offered.
Smitten with Steveston, they share one car and feel there is very little need to leave the area. Jenelle says, “We can often be found close to home at the playground or library.” For the young couple it all comes down to community involvement and they feel very fortunate to be living, working and playing in a village they love very much.
105-3900 Moncton St
Richmond BC V7E 3A6