old and new

When disaster strikes: Two small business owners rebound from tragedy


By Jenny Lee, Vancouver Sun February 23, 2014

Sometimes the unthinkable happens.

Kelly Oswald’s Whistler store burned down while she was away in Mexico leading her annual retreat on how to live a more peaceful life.

“Petty Ironic.” said Oswald whose spiritual gifts, clothing and services store, The Oracle, was hit with “a double whammy” last November.

“The fire on the Friday night took the building out — the electrical, fire alarms… everything,” she said. No one was hurt. “My amazing staff were able to salvage stuff and clean up. We were confident we could reopen.”

But a few hours later, a hot spot reignited the fire, dashing earlier hopes of rising from the ashes. “The second fire killed it. We’re still out.”

The fire affected six neighbouring businesses as well as Oswald’s 700-square-foot store.

In the meantime, rather than twiddle her thumbs while waiting for the Whistler location to be rebuilt, Oswald and her husband, James, are opening a new 1,000-square-foot store in North Vancouver where they have a new grandchild. “We look for silver linings.”