I had the opportunity to meet and interview the owner of a one-of-a-kind & local Crystals, Rocks & Specimens supplies shop based in Burnaby Heights.
Mountain Gems is a unique store full of surprises on the north side of Burnaby. Enter the store and your sensory organs are instantly stimulated with colours, glimmer, earthy odours and smiling faces! If you have ever visited this store, you will know what I’m talking about!
Mountain Gems carries an extensive collection of crystals, rocks, specimens, jewelry supplies, beads, tumbled gemstones, tools, books on topics of metaphysics, geology, lapidary to metal smithing and so much more! They have been in the business for over 2 decades and are the pioneers in this industry in the local Burnaby area. Bruce Maclellan founded this company 25 years ago and they have grown and hired several employees in these past years. The idea was to bring together people who are passionate in this field and not let their love for natural gemstones die down.
They conduct beginner/advance level classes and workshops in silversmithing, stone carving, stone setting and more. The time leading up to Christmas is the busiest season as a lot of people want to purchase jewelry and supplies as Christmas gifts. The workshops are also pretty full at this time – 8 people maximum per class. Each course takes place over 8 weeks with 3 hour classes per week. The students are required to bring the basic minimum tools and Mountain Gems provides other tools to support the workshop. More information can be found here.
Bruce and his team actively travel globally to attend tradeshows & exhibitions to buy and sell specimens from around the world. In this way, they get to connect and interact with people from different walks of life and learn new perspectives in the industry. School children from 2nd grade onwards often walk into the store and get curious to learn more about these shiny crystals on display. They often end up enrolling for one of the silversmithing workshops. “I have had these kids visit my store in their childhood and now they’re 17-18 year olds and still visiting me. I have watched them grow up.” quotes Bruce. Mountain Gems doesn’t really have a ‘target market’ as such as a person of any age could be interested in buying, selling or collecting these collector’s items! Vancouver being home to a massive film industry, they also have many film production companies rent their supplies on set. One of the more popular movie series ‘Night At The Museum’ has rented a couple of Mountain Gems specimens for their movies. Realtors often purchase decorative staging items for their showings.
Kids like to buy tumblers to grind rocks and make fancy jewelry. There is something for everyone! You can find similar stores around metro Vancouver but Mountain Gems is pretty much the only store of its kind in Burnaby.
They plan to take their future growth slowly but steadily as they’re firm believers of quality over quantity. Due to limited storage capacity, they also have to cut down on purchases and only have the best selections in store. Their prices are also mid-ranged and you will rarely find items priced over $1,000. They are well versed with technology and often use social media and magazine subscriptions for research purposes and keeping up to date in general. A lot of their business also depends on in-store walk-ins and word of mouth from past happy clients. In the past, they’ve also received some support and media coverage from Burnaby Heights and Burnaby Now.
Christmas is coming soon and if you’re looking to get a head start in buying gifts for your loved ones, go check out this lovely store in your neighbourhood. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, I’m sure the ever-friendly and enthusiastic staff will get you interested in these precious stones.
For more information:
Visit their store located at 4611 Hastings St, Burnaby BC, V5C 2K6
Visit their website or call 604-298-5883