Q&A with Craig Konshak, owner of Wanham Warehouse Ltd

Tell us a little bit of the history of Wanham Warehouse Ltd. What makes it unique and different from other grocery stores around?
Wanham Warehouse Ltd has been open for three years now, located right across from the post office in town on the old hardware store lot. The original building had to be demolished due to condition, and we then moved ours in. It may be a small store, but we have a huge selection. Most people cannot believe what there is organized into a small space. There is everything in stock – from groceries, new and used firearms, hunting/fishing licenses, and antiques.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what were the circumstances that led you to open a grocery store business in Wanham?
I come from farming and oilfield background and have always wanted something that allowed me to be around my family versus the long hours away that come with oilfield work. I enjoy being a “picker” and finding deals that work for the store.

How difficult is it to run a small business in a small community?
The biggest difficulty is in deciding what to bring in for a smaller population base, although customers are a big part of that with suggestions. We are always open to special orders as well as for non-stock items.

Convenience stores in many places serve as a hub for social events. What kind of marketing do you do to increase foot traffic and get people to congregate at your store?
We have been organizing Firearms Licensing courses in town complete with lunch supplied by us. It’s surprising how many people in the area are into hunting and target shooting and how many are interested in getting into it. For entertainment we have an outdoor pool/billiards table, although it gets more use come summertime. However, with interest a winter tournament could happen. Morning coffee here with a cribbage game among friends is another favourite, especially with the cold weather we have had lately.

Do you see yourself going the e-commerce route, where you put up products online for people to also purchase online?
Facebook helps with the e-commerce/advertising route – promoting new or unique items and events from time to time. I also occasionally sell items on e-bay from my picking expeditions – usually antiques or specialty tools that appeal to a larger market.

What do you say is your biggest challenge in running a store?
It is always a challenge finding new deals and different products to bring in, although that is my favourite part too.