They hadn’t planned on holding a re-opening celebration this month, but on September 24th Best West Pet Foods will invite the public to explore their new location at 336 Main St. in Steinbach – the former Video Max across from Giant Tiger. 

It was a move necessitated by the July Main St. fire that devastated several local businesses. And while they’re still applying some finishing touches, the Best West staff are looking forward to seeing some friendly faces – and familiar pets – at the event. 

“We don’t have everything in there, but we’re going to celebrate that at least we’re open and can serve our customers,” says Jamie Hercun. “We’ll have a sale on everything in the store, there’ll be raffle prizes, and we’re holding a charity BBQ to raise money for Steinbach and Area Animal Rescue.” 

Hercun, Director of Operations for Best West, lives in Brandon where there’s another location of the pet food and products store. He also runs the Winnipeg office and has enjoyed travelling frequently to Steinbach. He says he was impressed by the community response to the fire – something that wouldn’t necessarily have happened in a larger centre. 

“We had competitors call us and say, ‘Hey, sorry about the fire, but if you need a temporary location we can find room in our business for you.’ When our store manager went around buying supplies for the store, customers came up and hugged him and let him know that things would get better, that they were there if he needed help. Steinbach is a great community.” 

Best West’s staff, too, stepped up when things were difficult, and Hercun knows the business wouldn’t have carried on without them. 

“We have awesome staff,” he says. “We believe to have a successful business you need to have successful people. Our staff have grown with us – most of them from day one – and they’ve helped us grow and expand. We couldn’t do it without them.” 

Hercun also acknowledges the efforts of the fire department, which was able to contain and eventually put out the blaze. They also braved the flames and smoke to save as many animals as they could. In the following days, someone put up a memorial for the animals that couldn’t be rescued. It all reinforced Hercun’s appreciation for the Southeast region – and made holding a celebration an easy decision. 

“There’ll be a lot of fun things going on,” he says. “It’ll be nice to see everyone smiling again and to meet their pets.” 

Best West Pet Foods is now located at 120-366 Main St. in Steinbach and can be reached at (204) 326-9339. The public is invited to join them in celebrating their re-opening on Saturday, September 24th