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Rename downtown landmark to win

Billie's Bouquet new owners ask locals to weigh in

Squamish's newest business partnership is asking locals to help rename a downtown landmark.

Billie's Bouquet was not up for sale long before being snatched by new owners Alanna Volp and Kevin Wilson. While the wife and husband partnership will not be taking over the store from current owners, Eve Brealey and Lynne Jones until the late fall, the two are entertaining the idea of a Squamish-wide contest to come up with a new name for the flower shop.

The current owner's Brealey and Jones, a mother and daughter team, bought the store in 1993 from the original owner Billie Kibsey, from whom the store boasts its name.

Volp and Wilson are asking the people of Squamish for their opinion on the matter.

"Billie's has been around for so long and it has a great reputation," said Volp, "so if we don't get positive feedback from the community we may not change it at all. If we do select a new name, the contest winner will receive a $150 gift certificate to spend at the new store."

With over a decade's experience working in such environmentally conscious shops like Vancouver-based Capers Whole Foods Markets and Garlands Florist, Volp and Wilson said they hope to bring strict environmental practices to their new store.

Volp also hopes to compliment the burgeoning cafés and shops on Cleveland Avenue by providing a bigger street presence with flowers outside the shop.

"In general, I would like to see more beauty downtown," says Volp.

The original owner, Billie Kibsey, a longtime Squamish resident, opened Billie's Bouquet in the Highlands in 1972 and moved the store downtown in 1978, and sold the shop in 1993.

"Not a lot has changed downtown," said Kibsey. "Everyone works so hard down there. The flowers along the street look nice, but we could do with a few more shops."

Kibsey worked in the flower business for 23 years and learned the art while working at a shop in Vancouver called Flower's by Lily.

"One of my last jobs before opening the shop in Squamish was for Margaret Sinclair and Pierre Trudeau's wedding," she said. "It was a whole bunch of daisies. Of course their wedding was a secret so we didn't know it was for them until the 11 o'clock news that night."

When asked about the naming contest, Kibsey said: "Well it's the end of an era, if the new owners want to change it they can - but of course I'll have to enter my name in there somewhere."

Squamish residents can enter the contest by sending their name ideas to volp@asweetbeginning.com.