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Williams Lake small businesses collaborate to promote Cariboo, art

BOB’s Footwear and Apparel Inc. teams up with Williams Lake artist Sarah Sigurdson

A family-run small business in Williams Lake is finding great success thanks to their love of the Cariboo and desire to collaborate with other like-minded, local businesses.

About six months ago Alyssa Ilnicki, one of the owners of BOB’S Footwear & Apparel Inc., came up with the idea of commissioning local artist Sarah Sigurdson to do a series of paintings she could then use to create one-of-a-kind, locally-inspired designs for T-shirts. The two had met previously because Sigurdson painted portraits of the family pets for them.

Ilnicki said her vision she shared with Sigurdson was of a highland cow “because they are so trendy right now,” a bear wearing a ‘BOB’S Shoes’ hat and a beaver wearing flannel for Canada Day. She called the series Cariboo Livin’ and has since added other favourites depicting all the great aspects of life in the Cariboo, such as fishing and summers at her family’s cabin on Quesnel Lake.

Now the downtown store, where the designs are put onto T-shirts, crewnecks, hoodies, tanks, kid’s tees, baby onesies and even bags on-site, can’t keep the shirts on the shelves.

“It’s been fun,” said Ilnicki. “People just love them.”

Ilnicki said she is always thinking of ways to support other local businesses and collaborate on projects. Currently BOB’S also takes orders on custom-designed T-shirts collaborating with a local pub and Chilcotin fishing lodge.

As a way to give back to Sigurdson for their successful collaboration, Ilnicki has kicked off a campaign to donated 20 per cent of profits from all Cariboo Livin’ apparel sales to Cariboo Art Beat until the end of the month.

All donations will be put towards Cariboo Art Beat’s free summer kids painting program running this July.

The program is even named after the collaboration, where the theme will be Cariboo Livin’.

“We’re excited to help support these awesome artists and their community program.”

Alyssa, her husband Tyler, his brother Jorden Ilnicki and his wife Kelsey purchased BOB’S in 2021 and have since brought in 60 new brands into the store, including western wear. They show no signs of slowing down though they also have busy family lives with Alyssa and Tyler raising three young sons while Jorden and Kelsey are raising a young daughter.

Meanwhile Sigurdson is showing her first solo exhibit, Rearview Mirror, on until Saturday, June 24 in the upper level of the Station House Gallery.

READ MORE: Williams Lake Station House Gallery features Cariboo Art Beat Sarah Sigurdson’s first solo exhibit

READ MORE: Williams Lake family jumps into business at BOB’s Footwear & Apparel Inc.

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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