Dec 06, 2020

Flin Flon, Manitoba

Peds Threads - Opening a Storefront in the Midst of a Pandemic

Story by Ian Smith Photo by Micah Henderson, Gilded Oak Studios

Cyndi Pedwell was no newbie to the ups and downs of life in business. Growing up with business owners peppered all across her family, small business was in her blood.

Fuelled by a love of graphic design and a desire to work from home to raise her daughter, in 2001, she launched Peds Threads, Flin Flon’s one stop shop for custom logo design, branded apparel and promotional items. 

For nineteen years, Cyndi grew her dream of becoming Flin Flon’s go-to custom design shop. Over the last few years, though, she realized there was still one part of her dream that was yet to be realized.

She’d always envisioned a retail location that would allow her to host the community and house the production of her own unique brand of clothing. 

After years of planning and anticipation, she finally opened the doors to her new retail space on Main Street in March 2020. 

Two days later, she was closed.

Saddled with new financial obligations and an unknown future, Pedwell reflected on the scary and exhausting process of surviving Covid-19, characteristically centring her focus not on the challenges but instead on its blessings. 

“Covid-19 forced us to be more efficient, learn how to sell our products online, and for me, pushed me past what I’ve been comfortable in as a business owner. It’s been a hard lesson, but really, I’m thankful for it. ”

Stirred in spirit and devout that Covid wouldn’t steal her dreams, Cyndi managed to steward moderate growth in her business after the initial lockdown benefiting from the spring and summer restriction reprieves. 

So when Code Red hit this November, Cyndi and her team were prepared for the operational challenges to come. However, she wasn’t prepared for how these new restrictions would challenge the success of their busiest time of the season. 

Meeting that challenge meant having to find a whole new level of resolve.

Throughout the hard days, long nights and frayed emotions of Covid, it was a watershed time of reflection recently with her family that bolstered her faith to get through it all.

“ I just needed to be reminded that this is my dream, and I’m living it,” she recalled. “I walked back into the store after that conversation, looked around and thought, I built this, and I’m proud of it. Covid isn’t going to have the last say. ”

Steeled to weather this new financial storm, Cyndi isn’t just hunkering down to ride it out. Instead, she’s forging ahead, launching her new brand of clothing called Wild North Lifestyle Apparel, hoping it resonates with buyers province-wide. 

Today, hoodies, t-shirts, hats and toques are all available online ready to be shipped in time for the holidays. 

And though most of Flin Flon hasn’t walked into her store yet, she is encouraged by people’s determination to shop local when looking for gifts this holiday season. 

When asked what she’d like Manitobans to know about being a local business owner right now, her entrepreneurial pride, positivity and determined spirit made it difficult to share the haunting reality that she and many small business owners are facing right now.

 “I guess what I’d want people to know is, supporting local is always important, but right now, it’s critical. Businesses like ours may not be around to serve the local community in the future without it.”

As you shop for unique gifts this holiday season, visit Ped’s Thread’s Wild North Lifestyle Apparel online and get a little wild for the holidays!

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Jasyn Lucas

A member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Jasyn Lucas was born in Flin Flon and works out of Thompson, MB. He specializes in animal and landscape paintings, interpreting what he sees around him..

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Kristin McPherson

Kristin McPherson is a graphic designer and illustrator living and working in Winnipeg. For the past eight years…

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