It has certainly been a bizarre year for one local business in Golden; a year filled with learning, training and even a ghoulish haunted house. On March 2nd, Bizarre Entertainment celebrated their one-year anniversary, and for Trevor Hamre, Owner/Operator of Bizarre, it was a year that sped past like a seasoned skier on a groomer.
“I really can’t believe how fast the year has gone. It seems like we opened just yesterday,” Hamre said about the speed of time.
Three hundred and sixty-five days can disappear quickly into time’s abyss, but when looking back to those early days of Bizarre, it is clear that Mr. Hamre is a hands-on learner.
“When I originally decided to take over East Kootenay Electronics and eventually change it into what Bizarre is today, I was both a little scared and nervous. It was a huge lifestyle change for me. I only knew that Dean Goulding (former owner of East Kootenay Electronics) was looking to sell the place a week and a half before I actually bought it,” Hamre explained of his almost impulsive decision.
So, Trevor was immediately in the thick of things, running his own business; the type of business he had dreamed of running since the age of five. With his business diploma, from Castelgar, close by his side, he began running with his dream.
“I’ve been collecting comics, action figures, music, and that sort of stuff all my life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it certainly has helped me to be where I am today,” Hamre reminisced.
Trevor’s childhood passion, his dream, was not quite enough for what it actually takes to run a successful business; guidance is what he longed for, and found from someone he knew well and could trust.
“My wife Kuljit (Jaswal) helped out with Bizarre tremendously right from day one; she really pushed me to do it and really made it possible. Her success in town with both Jita’s Café and as a Town Councillor has definitely been rubbing off on my store. Really, if not for Jita, my dream would never have come to fruition. She supported me financially, physically, and mentally. She is my inspiration, mentor, and partner. My biggest thanks goes to her,” Hamre explained sincerely.
There was also someone else that helped Trevor out in those early days, someone who certainly knew his business.
“For my first month in business, Dean (Goulding) stayed with Bizarre in order to assist and in a sense train me. He taught me day-to-day operations, which was really huge for me. He also taught me the very important concept of “everyone loves free stuff”,” Hamre said with a convincing chuckle.
As the months began stacking up like a deck of Magic the Gathering cards, summer made its regular appearance and brought the familiar feeling of nervousness back into the loins of Bizarre’s owner.
“Our first summer was a tough time simply due to the fact that it is generally a slow time of year around here. I don’t blame people at all; I mean the weather is great, so people want to be outside enjoying it…I get it. It just made me a little nervous,” Hamre said as if the warm July rays were still penetrating his front window.
But, the slow season passed for Bizarre and before Trevor could load one of his latest documentaries into his homey “cinema” for Sunday Documentary Night, it was Halloween.
With Halloween came Bizarre’s House of Horrors. A collaboration with the Council of Canadians, the haunted house was a frightening success that saw all its proceeds go directly to the Golden Food Bank.
It was the success of the haunted house, and the donations made to the Food Bank, that really got the ball rolling for Bizarre and their fundraising ways. Bizarre currently donates all proceeds made at their Sunday Documentary Nights (at 7pm) to the Food Bank.
“I’ve been donating to the Food Bank since day one. I would personally like to challenge all businesses in Golden to do much the same,” Hamre added.
No matter how you chop it, a business’s first year is going to be strenuous and mentally demanding, but you would never know it by the pleasant mood that can always be found inside Bizarre. From Manager Jon Groulx’s friendly video suggesting to the interesting merchandise from wall to wall, a visit to Bizarre is for lack of better terms, not that bizarre at all.
“I 100 per cent appreciate all the local support we have received over our first year of business. I’ve been blown away by how many people have been telling me how much they enjoy what we’re doing here. Here’s to another year,” Hamre concluded.