Fourth-Generation Mainstay Gives Visitors Unforgettable Retail Experiences In Victoria’s Inner Harbour
VICTORIA – Since 1934, Capital Iron has been a family-owned-and-operated mainstay in Victoria, occupying one of the oldest buildings in the city’s Inner Harbour. Founded by Morris Greene as a scrap business specializing in ship decommissioning, Capital Iron transformed across the decades into one of the most unique one-stop general stores in all of Canada.
Built in 1863 and recognized as a Heritage Canada historical building, their landmark location is one of two, with an additional store in Langford.
Today, a Fourth generation has continued Morris’ legacy, with CEO Mike Black at the helm, and daughter Kylie Black as COO. Together, they offer a dizzying variety of outdoors, gardening, home, houseware and hardware products, to name just a very few categories they supply. Their family-centric nature and success has not gone unnoticed, with the Black’s earning the National Family Enterprise Achievement of the Year Award in 2014 from the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise.
“Having grown up around the business and starting to work at quite a young age, I really picked up a passion for retail as an industry,” notes Kylie. “This early exposure set me on a course to focus my educational and work experience to pursue a career in retail with the family business. I was born and raised in Victoria, and moved to Toronto to get a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Retail. I stayed for several years working at Target and Canadian Tire in their head offices before returning home.”
Capital Iron’s longstanding history was built on a high-level of focus on customer service, ensuring their staff are experts in their fields, and an emphasis on quality goods. They are also known for carrying unique items that cannot be found anywhere else, in addition to their toppling assortment of retail offerings.
There have been challenges, however.
“The shift in the retail industry to eCommerce was definitely tough, “Kylie elaborates. “So far we have navigated this challenge by diversifying our assortment to focus more on products that customers are more interested in seeing in person first. In addition to continuing to offer high levels of customer service. We’re also implementing a new point of sale system and a revamped website.”
Capital Iron has also had to navigate a post-COVID world, implementing the variety of safety protocols and enhanced cleaning measures a retail business requires to maintain safety for themselves and their customers. Mike and Kylie are working to build a solid plan for the coming year to maintain the agile response required to run a business during a pandemic. These include but are not limited to carrying more PPE at customer requests, a larger emphasis on shop-from-home options, taking orders via phone and email, and increased deliveries.
The Blacks are proud to be BC retailers, and of their ability to contribute to the local communities and visitors they serve.
Concludes Kylie, “We are so fortunate and feel incredibly grateful to have had the support of the local community across all these years, and are so happy to continue to serve them.”