Dear Friends and Business Associates,
In 2016, O.K. Gift Shop suffered the loss of its President, Kyosen Ohashi and then just three years later, the Managing Director, Gordon Kadota also passed away. In the last few months, Suzuko Ohashi and Ayako Archer, as the wife and daughter have continued the operation of O.K. Gift Shop in Canada, now in its 47th year in business.
In the early 70’s, Mr. Ohashi came to Canada to film the sport of salmon fishing in British Columbia for his 11PM variety late night television show. It was in Vancouver that “Kay”, (his English nickname) first met Gordon, who was operating a tour wholesale company as well as a film and television coordinating business. One of the filming locations was at the historic April Point Fishing Lodge on Quadra Island. That was also the first time Suzuko, a young bride and Ayako, a young teenager, met. It was the start of life long friendships.
In 1973, it was also the start of O.K. Gift Shop in Vancouver. The co-founders anticipated the wave of Japanese tourists who wanted to see the beauty of this country and buy authentic Canadian souvenirs and stylish furs. It was the first time services were dedicated to Japanese tourists, providing ease and comfort with sales and service in Japanese. The philosophy of “Good Value and Service with Sincerity” is the standard that the management and staff have strived for from the beginning. By the 80s and 90s, the company had grown dramatically, adding a second location in Banff and constructing store buildings in Vancouver and Niagara Falls. There were also business partnerships with several stores in New Zealand and Australia.
So it is with a sense of pride and sadness that we announce the closing of our stores in Vancouver and Niagara Falls. Our last day of business in these two stores will be March 22, 2020. Our store in Banff will continue in its prime Banff Avenue location and long-term lease. I will continue in my father’s footsteps, perhaps with a few modern changes.
Suzuko, along with a strong management team will continue the businesses in New Zealand & Australia. Their long standing relationships with OK Agency Japan will ensure the future success of the O.K. legacy in the Pacific Rim.
The staff and management of OK Gift Shop wish to thank you – to the many we have continued valuable relationships over the decades. Our success is due to your support and the many individuals who contributed over the years. We share our legacy with you.
Ayako Kadota Archer