Shoot for the Kootenai moon in Nelson
Nelson, B.C. > Toronto, Ont.
Toronto has nothin’ on Nelson. At least, that’s what Valerie Semeniuk, owner of Kootenai Moon Furniture, thinks. “I came to Nelson on a retreat in 1994 and fell in love with the area,” she said. “I lived in Toronto, but I wanted to be out of the concrete and into nature. I was looking for a change in my life. I was turning 40, single, had no children and working long days. I let go of the corporate world and moved to the mountains.”
Semeniuk always wanted to be self employed. After working for a major bank for 23 years, she harnessed the knowledge gained during those years and started up her own business. “I wanted to see if I could really be an entrepreneur,” she said. “In a small business like this, there is no head office to turn to for help or to use as a scapegoat but I am determined to be successful. I know the biggest risk is not taking a risk.”
Semeniuk has been expanding Kootenai Moon Furniture for the past two decades. She started the business in a 500-square-foot shop and—through five relocations—has bolstered Kootenai Moon Furniture to its current 5,000-square-foot space. “The impetus for the growth was learning what my customers wanted and what the community needed,” she said. “I knew I could meet the needs by researching, sourcing, going to trade shows and being open to learning.”
Even with preparation and planning, hindrances can crop up in any entrepreneur’s venture. “The ups and downs of the economy is the biggest challenge,” Semeniuk said, but offered encouragement to hopeful business owners. “It may be a rough ride, but hold on. This too shall pass.”
Semeniuk is an example of how someone with perseverance, patience, tenacity and guts can cultivate a prosperous business. “I love the feeling of home and creating an environment that is welcoming, warm and loving,” Semeniuk said. “Going from a single owner-operator to a staff of 10 has made me proud of what this business has accomplished and how it has developed a strong presence in the community.”