The Hobby Nook has been a fixture in Port Hardy since 1972. It was originally called Tina’s Hobby Nook until Carla Reusch took over the business in April of 2001.
Reusch grew up in Nanaimo and moved to Port Hardy in 1982 when she was 18.
From 1982 to 2001, “I was a certified general accountant, and I waited tables and did bookkeeping on the side,” said Reusch. She also raised two children in that timeframe and ran a small daycare in Coal Harbour.
In 2001, “(former owners) Tina and Al were looking to retire and spend more time on their boat fishing,” Reusch said, adding it was either “close up the shop or find somebody to buy the business.”
Reusch happened to be working part-time at the store then, and she jokingly said to Tina one day: “sell me the business.”
Tina and Al came back with a proposal a couple weeks later and the rest is history.
When asked what goes into running a successful business for 17 years on the North Island, Reusch said: “time, lots of hard-work and the support of your family. Even though I’m the face of the business, there’s always lots of people in the background that help you out. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
The Hobby Nook has two full-time staff and a part-time worker on the weekends. The store is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They offer a range of different products: art, beading, craft supplies, embroidery, engraving, needle work, shirts, hats and uniforms, silkscreening, trophies, yarns and much more.
“We’ve added large-format printers to print full colour photographs for banners, signs, shirts, vehicle decals,” said Reusch, who stated one of the first things she did after taking over the business was purchase “a computerized engraving machine so we didn’t have to do things by hand.”
She added she had always had the vision for expanding the business from very early on.
“We’re a multifaceted shop here, we don’t just do one thing. Our list of what we can’t do is a lot shorter than what we can do.”
Reusch said her favourite thing about owning the Hobby Nook is “being able to be creative. I like helping my customers find something that meets their needs, like that one-of-a-kind gift for their family, or just helping somebody bring their basic idea to life.”
In her spare time, Reusch said she and her husband Mark like to go hiking, camping and find places where cell phones don’t work.
On the subject of starting your own business, Reusch suggested people start small, do it in stages, and expand slowly.
When asked why she had wanted to own her own business, Reusch laughed and said, “I didn’t want to have to work for anybody else. I was ready for a change.”