Monk Office Buys Island Blue

January 31, 2022

Long-time, Iconic Victoria-based Family Firms Under One Owner

Monk Office President and CEO Caitlin McKenzie

VICTORIA – A pair of iconic Victoria companies are now under one owner.

Monk Office President and CEO Caitlin McKenzie announced January 11 that the company has purchased Island Blue Art & Framing stores in Victoria and Sidney.

“Island Blue Print was founded in 1912 with a focus on map drafting, blueprint services and the sale of drafting supplies. For the past 55 years, we fondly know it to be a locally owned and operated printing, art supplies and framing business by the Shemilt Family,” McKenzie states. “We honour this purchase as an exciting new chapter for Monk Office, keeping the longstanding and respected island-based Shemilt family legacy alive.”

Monk has eight retail operations across Vancouver Island, with just over 130 staff members. There are 13 staff at Island Blue, and Merle Duffus continues on as General Manager. Almost all of the staff made the transition to Monk’s ownership. Mike Shemilt has retired.

“All of us at Monk Office offer a sincere thank you to the Shemilt Family, for entrusting us with the next chapter of Island Blue Art & Framing stores,” McKenzie adds.

McKenzie notes the deal has been in the works for over a year.

“Consolidation of locations will happen in the future and beginning with the Monk Fort Street and Island Blue Fort Street location,” McKenzie says. “The biggest changes made immediately were the switching over of the operating system(s).”

A long-standing family business, Caitlin purchased Monk from her father, James McKenzie, in 2018.

Charlie Monk opened the first Monk store in 1951, and the business was later sold to Caitlin’s grandfather, Ron McKenzie. James grew up in the business and took over from his father, Ron, in 1990.

Today, Monk offers copy centre services, business machines, office furniture and supplies at eight retail locations across Vancouver Island: four in Greater Victoria, and outlets in Sidney, Duncan, Courtenay and Port Hardy. Head office and the distribution centre is at 800 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt.


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