Quinn Bender photo Boota and Diljit Uppal along with son Shaan in the showroom of their new store. Terrace Appliances & Mattresses is now open for business on a limited scale and a grand opening is planned for an undetermined date in September.

Back in business: former Sears franchisees go it alone

Boota and Diljit Uppal’s new store opens in same location

Sears Canada may be gone for good, but former Terrace franchise owners Boota and Diljit Uppal won’t let that hinder their success as a local home-furnishings retailer. The couple has renewed their lease at the old Sears location and are planning a grand opening event for what’s now an authentically independent business, Terrace Appliances & Mattresses.

“Mostly it was my customers who wanted me to try, and told me not to give up,” Boota said. “So we’re trying. We’re happy. I love Terrace and I want to stay in Terrace.”

Customers will see very little change from the brands and items once offered under the Sears banner, but the prices will be lower, Boota said.

The new store is part of the Mega Group, a membership of hundreds of Canadian home furnishing retailers who combine their numbers to achieve a level of buying power on par with the large competitors. Without the apparatus of a major company, like infrastructure, offices and layers of management, the Uppals say they will see greater price flexibility than what was achievable with Sears.

“I’m very excited. I’ve had my own business for 17 years, and I would not be happy now working for someone else. For two months I didn’t know what I would do, but then I started visiting other stores (former Sears franchises) in Smithers and elsewhere and they were doing quite well on their own.”

Last October Sears Canada’s liquidated all its 190 stores and assets, following almost four months of court-approved creditor protection.

Despite 17 years of success with their franchise, the Uppals were forced out of business.

The action came just weeks before Boota’s annual humanitarian visit to his home village in India. Along with local physicians and surgeons volunteering their time, Boota and four others now living in North America pool their money to finance eye, medical and cancer clinics for the poor.

Boota fulfilled that mission regardless of his business uncertainties. At the time he said the hardest part of losing the franchise was the doubt it cast over future missions abroad.

“I am very happy being successful for 17 years, but I’m sad my humanitarian work has to stop,” he said at the time. “When I start my new business I would like to keep helping in the community, in Canada and in India.”

Over the years the Uppals have also used their success to give back to the local community, including the donation of refrigerators on multiple occasions to the hospital, food bank, schools and daycares, as well by sponsoring the athletic and academic pursuits of youth both here at home and abroad.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thornhill’s future takes centre stage at June 2 public hearing

The current community plan was adopted in 1981

Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September

The college is embracing a distributed learning model

City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read