Andre’s Electronic Experts, located on Highway 97 South in Quesnel, is an integral part of the community.
Andre Blanleil and his company Blanleil Cranbrook Holdings is happy with its bricks-and-mortar business style and has just expanded the holdings to include a property north of its current location.
The property will be home to a larger Dollarama, Mark’s Work Wearhouse and an independent Starbucks. Blanleil Cranbrook Holdings will be the landowner for the three new tenants.
In order to fill the buildings they construct, Andre attended a show in Whistler at the end of January 2017 where every retailer in the country was represented, he says. It was time to network and build relationships, selling his vision for the new development, Andre adds.
“The location is very good with the highway right outside the door and also being across from a big box store.
“We’ve built the drive-thru and the exteriors and they come in and design their interior how they want it. In this case though, Dollarama and Mark’s have provided the specifications and our company is completing the interiors for them.
“We do all the general contracting. My brother and my sons, all business partners in Blanleil Cranbrook Holdings, were in the trenches putting in water lines, sewer lines, water and electrical in the snow a few weeks ago.”
Dollarama is expected to open April 1 as is Starbucks, and Mark’s will be opening July 1.
Blanleil Cranbrook Holdings is in the Interior, the Kootenays, Prince George, Terrace and Kitimat.
“We have a total of 25 Telus and Electronics stores in B.C.,” says Andre.
Andre says he knows they have competition with online shopping, but says he believes in investing in communities.
He adds its important to shop local. Online is great, he says, but that doesn’t create jobs or pay taxes in the community.
“We’re investing in these small communities, including Quesnel.
“The big online retailers don’t pay anything towards the local arena and other amenities the community enjoys. We believe this is a good business model and we’re firm believers in good roots in the community we’re in. We also hire all local staff.”
Andre credits his success in part to his father, who did everything. He was a TV and electronics technician and Andre grew up in that environment. He had a little TV repair shop and Andre opened a retail side of the business in 1980.
Their first purpose-built business was constructed from the ground up in 1986 and Blanleil Cranbrook Holdings has been growing ever since – although in keeping with his small-community concept, Andre says they have no desire to enter the Vancouver market or expand outside B.C.
“Over the past 20 years, when we find opportunities that work, we purchase and develop our retail outlet as well as other retail space.”
It’s a family business and that includes their staff members, who have all the necessary training to provide the expertise and experience their customers need.
“We have the same low prices as the big-box stores in larger markets available in the small community stores. We make sure you get the best pricing available in your local community.”