Ownership change pending for Folklife Village

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Monday, July 28 2014

Folklife Village will have a new owner by August 1. That much has been confirmed by tenants who have been contacted by the prospective buyer looking to put together information on the purchase.

While there is indication that the buyer of the Folklife property is the Jim Pattison Group, spokespersons for the Jim Pattison Group told the Sounder last week that no comment can be made for confidentiality reasons.

It should be stressed that the potential sale is of the Folklife Village buildings and property - not any of the businesses which are currently occupying commercial space in Folklife.

Gary McCollum and Jane Krul, owners of the Village Food Market said in a statement that it is their understanding “an ownership change of the mall is pending. We see this as a positive development for both the mall and for Gabriolans. The building is over 20 years old and ready for some TLC. An injection of new energy and resources is just what is needed and we look forward to seeing positive changes (we will be lobbying for better washrooms!)

“We would like to make sure that all Gabriolans understand that this is a change of ownership in the mall, not in Village Food Market. Our business will continue to operate as usual, welcoming Gabriolans and visitors alike.”

Kathy Ramsey, owner of Gabriola Artworks, said she was told the change in ownership would take place on August 1.

She said she wanted to make sure the founding owners of Folklife knew how much their vision meant to Gabriola.

“I know the word “developer” is a dirty word around here but Steve and Mary Wohlleben did us all proud by bringing Folklife Village here 20 years ago. They had a vision that really “fit” with the Gulf Island lifestyle. Folklife is truly a beautiful complex with great bones and a unique heritage.”

The Wohllebens constructed Folklife Village from the former Expo 86 Saskatchewan Pavilion.

Ramsey added, “I trust my fellow islanders will be gracious and welcoming to the new owners while wishing the Wholleben’s all the best in their future endeavours.”

Gabriola Artworks up for sale

For Ramsey, the sale coincides with a decision to put Gabriola Artworks up for sale, as she looks to move off Gabriola.

She said, “After living on this beautiful island for almost 25 years and after running Artworks with the best crew ever for the past 18 years, it’s time for movin’ on. Artworks is for sale. My amazing (and patient!) man has been waiting for me for the past five years on another island and it’s time to trade the world’s most epic long-distance romance for living and loving under the same roof (along with a combined total of seven kids and five cats).”

Ramsey said she is committed to steering Artworks through to the Thanksgiving Studio Tour and possibly to the end of December if the store is not under new ownership by then.

“There are no words to say how much I love this community - it has made me feel like a member of the biggest, weirdest and most wonderful family of hotheads since the day I landed. 

“Those who truly know and love me have enthusiastically acknowledged that yes, this is exactly the right thing for me to do so I’d really appreciate it if everyone else could follow their lead - this is tough enough without getting all soppy and sentimental!”