Chuckling Duckling Farm Store & Refillery
Chuckling Duckling Farm is Fort Langley’s natural, bath, body, home and zero waste refillery store. with full instore refill options for everything from shampoo to bubble bath and dish soap to counter top spray. Our family business has been providing eco friendly, locally made, top quality products since 2016. As a single mom, I started this business with my teen daughter, with the store located just a few blocks from home and from her school, Langley Fine Arts.
We have loved every minute of our journey with our beloved store. From making all the fixtures from repurposed materials, to painting our auction finds and transforming them into charming display units, all with a strong eco agenda and love for Planet Earth.
On March 14, our little shop closed due to the COVID pandemic and instead of shuttering and looking to the government for the CERB handout, we decided to close our doors but push through and get the website up and running as fast as possible and offer curb side pickup and free local delivery of all our products. We also ramped up and started producing gift sets, our (skin loving) hand sanitizer with priority going to first responders, essential workers and end of life care givers during the pandemic. We worked shorter days but 6 days a week to keep up with demand, offering 50% off to all first responders as well as free ear chaffing guards for their masks.
We were closed for 84 days.
The bills started piling up but we managed to skim through on a skeleton staff, sadly laying off of some employees but managing with a very part time staff while still paying full rent (until May when a 25% off, temporary rent relief sum was offered from our landlord). That relief ends this month.
With our doors closed, and no CERB cheques or aid of any sort, we managed to squeak through to the finish line keeping the big bills paid, pushing off the small ones and food on the table. With Chuckling Duckling Farm store being my sole source of income, it has been unbelievably stressful having to prioritize bills, determine who gets paid each month and hoping we have enough to make it to the end of the month. It was scary, it was tight, but we survived.
We proudly re-opened on June 6th with safety protocols in place, COVID screens and a new store layout to accommodate safer distancing and super clean, 100% new protocols for our popular refill program.
As if COVID wasn’t enough, in the midst of re-opening, my common law partner landed in emergency with an intestinal rupture that required 2 emergency surgeries to save his life and the removal of 12” of his intestine. He had multiple complications post surgery and spent 22 days in hospital, with no visitation, making it home just today, June 18 at 6pm, as I type this.
Which brings me to June 16, Tuesday night, 11pm, …2 days ago.
I received a phone call from our business neighbour upstairs.
"There is smoke and water pouring out of yours store!”
An electrical fire broke out in the rear of my beloved store and in a split second everything changed. I rushed to the store to find it engulfed in thick, toxic smoke with water pouring out the back doors and flooding the front. The fire crews were on scene quickly and the fire was under their control. within an hour. The flames were contained to our back room, with both sprinkler heads thankfully doing their jobs, and nobody was hurt.
Sadly, the smoke and water damage through out the front of the store has ruined everything. Our displays, cabinets, antiques as well as our products, essential oils and all our production ingredients.
I am devastated.
We are now closed, navigating restoration crews making piles of what is salvageable and what is not, with a fire inspector digging through the remnants and praying our insurance will come through. At the time of writing this, a full 48 hours since the fire, I still do not have confirmation of full coverage or when we will see any relief and I have not been able to even get my adjustor on the phone. The panic has subsided but the reality that we will not be open for possibly several months has left me shattered as I have no other source of income. We will need a complete rebuild from the floors, to the walls, all my antique dressers and cabinets that I hand picked and painted with love are possibly destroyed, not to mention all the inventory ruined from smoke damage.
I know many people are struggling through Covid related problems as well, either lost jobs, reduced income etc. putting us all in dire straits, so asking for help truly feels incredibly awkward and painful. I know I am a fighter but I am so flattened by the wave of adversity I have been hit with that I am truly on my knees.
I am so humbled by the kindness of friends, business neighbours, local residents helping with gifts of food, home help for both David and I, offering store clean up help and so much more.. and many are asking how they can help support us to rebuild.
With the store now 100% unusable, it means even our curb side program that carried us through COVID is no longer a viable business option. We do have the website but now, no products to sell.
Thankfully we have a generous local resident offering us a temporary space where we can restart our production, to help us get up and running for online orders. At this point though, we have lost all our ingredients, equipment, supplies, soap molds, essential oils, dried botanicals, drying racks, trays, tools etc., thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies that we have amassed over the past 5 years as the business grew. And with COVID wiping out our cash flow, there is nothing extra for this expense right now.
So I am putting this out to my beloved community, as I know I cannot do this on my own.
We do need your help, it is so hard and humbling to have to ask, just know it is done with enormous gratitude.
*The funds will be used immediately to replace destroyed supplies, equipment, ingredients, tools, materials as well sourcing all new cabinets to refinish, store fixtures, shelving and other repurposed items to refixture the store once renovations are completed. The funds will also be used as interim revenue for Leah Chevallier and family as they have no other sources of revenue.
* This fundraiser was started by Leah Chevallier, (resident of Fort Langley and owner of Chuckling Duckling Farm) to financially cover costs of rebuilding from a fire on June 16, 2020 .
Website: Chuckling Duckling Farm
- Eleftherios Sipsas
- Carrie & Kirby Ell
- James Hinton
- Jill Moss
- Brian McClelland