Family retires from business after almost a century

After 98 years the owners of McInnis Lighting have sold the business.

Paul Williams and his wife Joan have decided to retire and sold the business and the building its housed in to another couple who are well established in the community and have other business interests in town.

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Paul said the unidentified new owners haven't decided if they will keep the store at the current location or if it will move.

The transition from the former owners to the new owners will take place during the month of October.

"We're on a ride," Joan said about the process.

"Hopefully it's got brakes," Paul laughed.

The family is getting older and the children have all gone their own way career-wise.

"So when an opportunity arises, you take a look at it seriously and we did have an opportunity where the business would carry on and the staff will keep their jobs and could carry on as well," Paul said. "The business will also continue to have the same name for, I hope, many years to come."

The sale of the business has been in the works for the last couple of months.

Paul was quick to say that he and Joan will happily stay in Prince George where all five of their children and four grandchildren live as well.

"We love this community," Joan said. "We're very involved with friends and family and there's no other place we'd rather be."

John McInnis, Paul's grandfather, started the business in 1920. He was a home builder who went into the building supply business.

"I don't believe there was anyone else who provided those services at the time," Paul explained. "And it went along with what he knew. My father joined the firm in the early '50s and then myself - so it's been three generations."

Both Joan and Paul started with the company when they were teenagers, Joan said.

Paul and Joan don't know what retirement will look like exactly for them but Paul mentioned Joan's amazing garden.

"We both like being out in the garden," Paul said. "We also like to ski and snowshoe, kayak and bicycle. We lead a pretty active lifestyle."

"Yeah, we have a pretty good group of friends who we do that sort of stuff with," Joan added.

Travel is in their future as well, with Paul saying he would like to visit Prague, Czech Republic and Budapest, Hungary to explore their interesting history and unique architecture.

Joan said they'd like to explore closer to home for longer periods of time and take a trip to the East Coast.

Once word got out about Paul and Joan's retirement, there was an outpouring of support and well wishes from the community.

"People thanked us for all these years and how we've been an anchor in Prince George like Northern Hardware and that's just been phenomenal for us to hear," Joan said.

Paul said both he and Joan are both deeply touched by the public response to their announced retirement.

"We're so grateful for all the years the people of Prince George and area have supported us," Paul said. "We're grateful to have always had such an amazing staff. It's always been so nice to come to work because it just feels like you're going to your second family, including the staff and the clients coming in. We're very happy to see the business continue."

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