A new storefront has emerged in the downtown core of Fernie. Coal Town is a boutique shop that offers handmade items that owners Diana Peake and Nicole Leckenby have sourced themselves.
“It’s all handpicked, handcrafted items that we have found over the years at markets, online or through friends,” said Leckenby. “It has to be well made, it has to have quality. It needs to be unique enough that you won’t necessarily find it in a whole bunch of other stores locally. Ideally, it is something Canadian made.”
Coal Town opened Nov. 30 and since the store’s opening, Peake and Leckenby have been amazed at the support that their friends, local businesses and strangers have given them.
“The town is so supportive. Friends and even strangers have come by with stuff like flowers and well wishings,” said Leckenby.
“Even the downtown core of other businesses have been welcoming,” Peake added.
The store name, Coal Town, is a reflection of Fernie in the eyes of Leckenby and Peake – the blue-collar undertones combined with a level of elegance.
“Fernie is a coal town at its core. There are a bunch of ski towns but Fernie has a soul and because it is a special place people come from all over the world so there is still a level of sophistication,” said Leckenby.
While there are a number of ski towns in the area, Leckenby and Peake believe that Fernie has something more so they made a store that caters to the people who mirror the town.
“Fernie girls are the ones who can go run up the ski hill, go hunting, or mountain biking then come back and get all dolled up for a nice dinner at one of the awesome restaurants in town,” said Leckenby.
The duo came from the West Coast, but both have been in Fernie for more than a decade.
“We are both from the Coast, we both met working at Yamagoya. To make a long story short, we became fast friends,” said Leckenby.
“Yeah, both the same age, lots of similarities,” said Peake. “We were setting up beside each other all the time at the markets.”
The market circuit is where the idea for a bricks and mortar retail shop started. The two wanted to have something that they could walk away from everyday by closing a door rather than the constant set up and tear down they became accustomed to through their time at the markets.
“Then we just thought one day that it would be so cool to just close and lock a door at the end of the day and walk away. Then here we are,” said Leckenby.
“Then everything flowed serendipitously. We already had all these business cards and contacts of all these people so we already had a way to fill a store with all the awesome stuff we knew of,” said Peake. “It all happened so easily that it was meant to be.”