In the three months since she became the manager of Shefield Express in Powell River Town Centre mall, Dar Sword has learned a lot about the breadth of products and services available behind the business’ unassuming façade.
“I moved to the Powell River area a couple years ago, and I’ve been to this mall lots of times, but I had no idea of the selection that was at Shefield Express,” says Dar. “We’re the store everyone knows is there, but doesn’t necessarily explore. So I’d like to invite everyone to come by, because we just might surprise you.”
In her short time as manager, Dar has enhanced what Shefield Express specializes in: postal services, smoking products and accessories, and corner-store amenities such as lottery and snacks.
“I asked my staff, since most of them have worked here for years, what do people want?” she says. “They have lots of great ideas, and that’s informed how we’ve expanded. And I’m happy to hear directly from customers. If you have a hard time finding something locally, come in and talk to me, and I’ll see if I can get it.”
Behind the black saloon doors to the left of the tills are the smoking products, everything from marijuana-smoking accessories to personal humidors. A large selection of items kept in the large humidor that makes up one wall will be changing, effective March 2022.
“Come in now to pick up your collectors’ packaging; rules are changing for those products,” says Dar. “I have some open boxes with all the stamps and decorations on them, and some that are still completely sealed, so the product inside is very fresh.
“If you’re an aficionado or a collector, this will be your last chance to get boxes like this unless you travel to the Dominican Republic or Cuba. And of course, even once the packaging rules change, we’ll still be your local source for those types of smoking products.”
Shefield Express also carries Zippo lighters, and Dar has brought in hookahs and hemp-based body care products as well.
“This year we’re putting together themed gift baskets for the holidays,” she says. “There’ll be themes around smoking products, but there will also be baskets with body care items, interesting snacks, and other things we have in stock. We can also make custom gift baskets based on your own choices.”
With Keno playing on a television to the side, some chairs and tables, and an array of snacks and drinks, Shefield Express provides a welcoming place to sit for a spell.
“We have a lot of regulars, and we often know their order even before they get to the till,” says Dar. “We’re on a first-name basis with many people, and we notice if you haven’t been in for a while. You’re not a number to us.”
Finally, Dar has expanded the products available at the post office attached to Shefield Express.
“We have more shipping products, like smart-phone and tablet boxes and padded envelopes,” she says. “We’ve also started offering money grams and some other things you used to have to go to the main Canada Post office for. As we head into the holiday shipping season, you’ll be able to get your parcels and cards in the mail with us on Saturdays, something we were previously unable to offer.”
Dar wants to extend a preemptive thank you to all qathet residents for their patience heading into the holiday season.
“Even though we have three tills, only one of them is hooked up to the Canada Post system, so all postal office transactions need to run through that one till, even something as simple as buying a single stamp,” she says. “We appreciate your understanding as my staff and I work to get everyone’s needs met quickly.”
Shefield Express is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday, with all services available each day until closing time. The business is located near the north end of Town Centre mall, 7100 Alberni Street.