Tia Cederstrand opens Third Avenue on Main

New business takes over from Kassie’s Jewelry

January 29, 2024, 10:21 am
Kevin Weedmark

<b>New business owner:</b> Tia Cederstrand is the owner of Third Avenue on Main, the new business that has taken over from Kassie’s Jewelry in Moosomin.

Moosomin has a new business owner. Tia Cederstrand is the owner of Third Avenue on Main, which has taken over from Kassie’s Jewelry.
We sat down with Tia last week to talk about her new business. Following is the full interview:

Let’s start at the beginning. You grew up in Whitewood, tell us about growing up and your early life.
Yes, I grew up in Whitewood. I moved there from Alberta when I was seven. I’ve always had a love for business. When I was 11, I spearheaded the fundraiser to build the splash park in Whitewood now known as Richardson Pioneer Splash Park. I raised $180,000 with the help of the community. That was my first experience of being in the business world. I went on to become a young entrepreneur doing various little businesses as I got older. I would have an idea and think I may as well try it and see how it goes. It was during that time I knew nothing was going to stop me from fulfilling my dreams of owning a business.

Did you always think that you wanted to be in business for yourself?
Yes, and now it is a dream come true.

How come?
I have always had that spirit of wanting to have my own business and I’m such a creative individual that I wanted to be able to express my own creativity in a business. I came into this opportunity with many experiences of hosting events, marketing, sales, and various other important aspects of business. Most importantly, I am very community minded, which I believe is an integral part of being a small business owner.

Tell me more about your business education
I was attending the University of Regina for business and realized that I wanted to specialize in the avenue I would pursue after I was done with my education and focused on hands-on learning in the industry. So without telling my parents I applied to John Casablancas Institute in Vancouver and they accepted my application with a scholarship. I phoned my parents and I told them that I was going to be attending this school in Vancouver in the fall of 2019 and they were a little hesitant at first but then they were like, “Yeah, follow your dreams if that’s what you want to do.”

What did you learn there? What was their focus?
I was studying Fashion Business and Creative Arts. I studied merchandising, fashion retailing, history of fashion and many other aspects of the fashion world. It was a lot of hands-on learning so we worked with multiple different instructors who were at all different levels of the fashion industry. The teachers that taught my classes have all had significant roles in the fashion industry such as Louis Vuitton, Fluevog Shoes, Aritzia, Lululemon and many others. We were right in the heart of Gastown learning about everything to do with the fashion industry and got to experience the business like no other.

So how did you end up in Moosomin and how did you start working for Kassie’s Jewelry?
I was going to school in Vancouver during the pandemic and then ended up moving home due to the restrictions. From there, I continued with remote learning until my graduation. I had approached Kari (with Kari’s Kloset) right before I was going to finish my schooling and asked her if she would be willing to help me out getting my first job. At the time, I didn’t think there were a lot of options in a small community for the education that I took. Was I ever wrong! Kari was really enthusiastic and helpful. She hired me on as her social media manager. I worked for Kari for a few months before Ross and Michele Shaw had approached me. We started talking about our family. Ross mentioned “Oh maybe you’ll want to buy this place one day.” Then the light bulb just kind of went off. I began to learn more about how the business has been in my family for so many years. I started to think that I be able to pursue my dreams of owning my own business while also keeping a business in our family for over 40 years!

So when you started working for Ross and Michele it wasn’t the plan originally that you were starting to work towards ownership?
We just started as, “We’ll see how this goes. We’ll see if you like it.” Then from there I really began to love working in the jewelry business and Ross and Michele. They granted me lots of opportunities to take courses and learn as much as I could. They supported me while I was learning about an industry that was new to me. They were so supportive and helped me out with learning everything about the business and how they ran the business. Now, I have reached the point that they have taught me everything that they know.

You’ve been there four years already?
Yes, it will soon be four years.

Does it seem like that long?
No. I didn’t know four years could go by so fast!

So when did you guys seriously start thinking “Okay, wait a minute, maybe we could actually make this work.”
I think in 2022 is when we first started playing around with the idea of how I was going to be able to do it. Most 21-year-olds—at the time I would have been 21—don’t know how to buy a business. Together, we had to get a little creative and it took some time but we were able to make it all come together.

How did it help having the Community Builders Alliance involved?
I had originally approached a couple of different business lenders, but it just didn’t quite align with what I was looking for. I reached out to the CBA just with the idea. I mentioned my business plan and they got back to me right away.
They said that this was an awesome opportunity for the CBA and that they loved seeing young entrepreneurs wanting to take over small local businesses. So they took it to a meeting to see who was interested and how we could make that come together. We were able to pull it all together in about six months.

Now, you’re changing the name to Third Avenue on Main—explain that name for people.
It was a hard decision to pick a name. I thought Third Avenue on Main was different and brought me back to why I wanted to be here. I grew up on Third Avenue in Whitewood, so I wanted the name to reflect part of me and who I am along with the history of the business. So it kind of tells the story of how I wanted to own a business my whole life and the street where my love for business started.

You added flowers into the business as you were in the process of taking over the business. How did that come about?
It was a really fast decision that we had to make. The opportunity came up, we sat down and talked about it for a little bit and then we jumped right into it. Jewelry and flowers go hand-in-hand with one another, so you couldn’t ask for a better combination.

You’ll be busy on Valentine’s Day.
This will be my first Valentine’s Day since our addition to the flower shop. It is so exciting to see a new avenue for the business during its busiest season. I cannot wait to see all of the beautiful arrangements and bouquets going to all of the very special people in someone's life!

What other changes are you thinking about for the store?
Right now I am ordering and researching new products and brands to bring in as we change our giftware heading into the spring season. I will be hosting a grand opening in the spring and hope to have many new items for you all to come and see! One thing we are really excited about is our collection of childrens and adult books.

Independent jewelers are like independent papers, they’re covering larger areas. How big of an area do you draw customers from?
The area is continuously growing each and every year. We have customers coming to us from Manitoba and many communities in our south east corner of the province. More people are looking for independent jewelry stores because of the service and the quality of products carried.

As you were working through the process and coming up to the point of deciding if you were doing this or not, what was going through your head? What were the different things that you had to decide? Were you sure from day one that you were going to do this or did you have some moments where you were wondering if you could?
That’s a tough question! I’m sure everyone who starts a business questions themselves many times during the starting process. However, I knew from a young age that this was my passion and a dream that I always wanted to be able to pursue. When I was presented with the opportunity, I knew that this was meant to be. There will always be moments were being a business owner can be challenging, but you have to get back up and learn from your experiences.

What have you learned since you took over December 1? What have been the challenges?
Shifting from being an employee to being an owner, there are lots of changes. Each day you are learning something new. In business, you have to be able to pivot and think quickly. There are times that the challenges seem too big, but then you have to be creative about how you can overcome them. Starting in the busiest month of the year in the jewelry industry allowed me to dive in and experience many things. So far it has been a great opportunity, and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for me and the business.

What’s the most important thing that Ross and Michele taught you about business?
The question is where to begin. Over the last four years, Ross and Michele has spent countless hours teaching me everything they know about business and life. I think the some of the most important lessons they taught me was to accept help when needed and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to operate a successful business.

How do you find being in business in Moosomin so far?
Moosomin is very supportive. The community is so supportive, I couldn’t ask for a better community to be in. Everybody is friendly, and it amazes me how many people love to shop locally.
Our community supports so many small businesses, and each time they are able to support us we are able to support more within our community as well. It goes in a continuous circle.

In a larger sense, what’s your long term vision for the business? Where do you see it in the future? What do you want to do with it?
There’s tons of opportunity in the business. Lots of independent jewelers now are at a retiring age, a dream of mine would be to open up another location! I would love to be traveling to more places, and possibly doing more pop-up shops.
By the end of this year I’ll have a website so people will be able to shop online. Another dream of mine is to design my own engagement collection.
The opportunities in the industry are absolutely endless.

Is it exciting or is it scary at this point to be starting out with a new business?
I think for the first year it’s always going to be scary. But it is really exciting too because it’s something that I’ve never done before and you have a million new experiences every day.
I love working with my customers. Every person that walks into the store makes your day so much better because that’s why you love being there. The people and the community are what is so important to being in business, because that’s the heart and soul of why you’re there. You know how they say that you do a happy dance after you make a sale—it really is true.