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Bringing Europe to Armstrong: Enterprize-winning general store opens doors

Fieldnotes Market on Okanagan Street had its opening day Saturday, May 27
Fieldnotes Market, which offers goods from local artisans and artists, home goods and European pantry food, had its opening day in Armstrong Saturday, May 27, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Pamela Janek has always wanted to open a retail store, and what could be better than having that dream come true alongside her daughter, Hannah.

Pamela is the owner of Fieldnotes Market in Armstrong and Hannah is the store manager. Together they had their grand opening on Okanagan Street Saturday, May 27.

“It was a long journey and an exciting journey because of course I did it with my daughter Hannah, and we’ve had so much support from the community all along the way, it has just been incredible,” Pamela said.

Fieldnotes Market is a general store founded on a love of nature. It contains quality European-inspired home goods, local arts and crafts, pre-loved housewares and specialty local and European pantry food.

The Janeks moved to Armstrong from Ottawa in the summer of 2022. Right away, they pursued opening a store. Their search for a location was a difficult one, but finally finding a location in December was the perfect Christmas gift.

From there, the two got to work on their business plan, and through their research, they stumbled upon Community Futures’ Enterprize Challenge, a competition that gives entrepreneurs a chance at start-up capital and other business-related prizes.

Pamela says preparing their application for the Enterprize Challenge was “arduous,” since it was “in parallel with preparing for the store, but it was a really fantastic experience all around.”

Seven finalists were named for the Enterprize Challenge, with the winners announced on May 19.

“And then we won the whole darn thing.”

Before Fieldnotes Market had even opened, it had earned more than $35,000 in prizes to get the business started on the right foot.

Pamela says the store can offer something new to the community.

“When we arrived here we saw there was a large demographic of Europeans, and our family is Eastern European, so we really felt we could bring a little bit of the food element,” she said.

The Janeks want to hear from locals about what they want to see in the store. Currently, it’s about one third local artists and artisans, one third housewares with a European design influence, and one third specialty food.

Pamela says getting to watch her daughter thrive in a business role has been “a treat.”

“I’ve just learned so much about her in a totally different way as an adult, and I just was constantly surprised at how talented she was and I couldn’t be prouder,” she said.

Armstrong Mayor Joe Cramer was at the grand opening and did the honours of cutting the ribbon. He said it’s great to have another start-up in the community.

“I wish them all the successes, the family seems like a wonderful group of people and they’ve chosen Armstrong after searching around the North Okanagan for a location,” Cramer said.

Having seen the inside of the store for the first time, Cramer joked: “my wife’s already getting after my wallet.”

READ MORE: Armstrong general store wins Enterprize Challenge, days before opening day

READ MORE: Record nominations, again, for North Okanagan business awards

Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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