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First Filipino-owned jewelry, fashion store in Vancouver to close after 18 years

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Jul 09 2022 05:59 PM

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Eighteen years after it opened, the first Filipino-owned jewelry and clothing store in Vancouver is closing its doors for good.

Beatriz Boutique owner Beatriz Cabilin explained that she has decided to sell her shop so she and her husband Jessie can finally retire.

"Talagang yun ang passion ko na magtinda ng mga jewelry tsaka clothings. Back in the Philippines pa, nagtitinda-tinda na rin ako on the side... Pero yun nga, noong medyo nagkaroon na ako ng health issues so sabi ng mga anak ko, 'it’s about time, mom, 'cause you’re already 69'," Beatriz said.

(This is really my passion, to sell jewelry and clothing. Back in the Philippines, I have already been selling this on the side... But because of my health issues, my kids said 'it's about time, mom, 'cause you're already 69.')

Jessie also admitted that they were forced to retire due to his wife Beatriz's health issues.

"Dalawang beses siyang na-emergency. Kung hindi siguro, ayaw pa niyang bumitaw dito eh," he said.

(She's been to emergency twice already. If not, she still wouldn't want to close it.)

Beatriz initially started selling jewelry pieces at the airport in Vancouver before actually opening her shop in 2003. As the business grew, she rented a commercial space on 41st Avenue in Vancouver, which enabled her to gradually expand her selection.

"Parang ang dali-dali lang para sakin kasi yung parang excited ako, excited ako na eh nag-start lang ako nang konti-konti lang and then eventually padami nang padami ng mga customer ko," she shared.

(It felt so easy to me. I was excited, I started small, and then eventually, my customers started to grow.)

Years later, Beatriz would also add a remittance service in one corner of her shop. Loyal customers said they will miss the quality of service given by the Cabilins.

"Yung serbisyo nila, yung magremit ka, kung malaki-laki ang ipapadala mo, maraming requirements, sila ang mag-aayos," loyal customer Juliet Cabang said.

(Their service, when you're sending money, especially if it's a sizable amount, there are a lot of requirements and they take care of it.)

Beatriz was also able to lend her support to groups that brought Filipino entertainers to Vancouver. She also lent some of the gowns from her Filipiniana collection to local beauty contestants.

The Cabilins said their business remained good even during the pandemic. But with their children now grown and tending to their own businesses, the couple stressed that it's time for them to stop and savor the fruits of their labour.

"Pagkainisip mo yung kinikita namin dito, medyo nakakahinayang pero it's about time na mag-relax," Jessie said.

(If you think about our income here, it's quite regrettable but it's about time to relax.)

Beatriz admitted having mixed emotions. "Syempre masaya ako na malungkot... Ang mai-suggest ko sana sa kanila, ipatronize nila yung ating mga kababayan."

(I'm happy, at the same time, sad... What I will suggest to them is to patronize our compatriots.)

The Cabilins plan to split their time now between Nueva Ecija and Vancouver. Meanwhile, interested customers have until July 15 to take advantage of the closing down sale of Beatriz Boutique.