Compared to last year, Sharon Dueck (left) and Lee-Ann Hendrickson of All About Expos invested quadruple the time and effort as a result of the province’s ever-changing COVID-19 regulations, trying to bring the Christmas Gifts Pop-Up Mall to Chilliwack Heritage Park. After Dr. Bonnie Henry’s most recent announcement on Nov. 19, they were forced to cancel the in-person event and move it online. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Compared to last year, Sharon Dueck (left) and Lee-Ann Hendrickson of All About Expos invested quadruple the time and effort as a result of the province’s ever-changing COVID-19 regulations, trying to bring the Christmas Gifts Pop-Up Mall to Chilliwack Heritage Park. After Dr. Bonnie Henry’s most recent announcement on Nov. 19, they were forced to cancel the in-person event and move it online. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Pop-up mall in Chilliwack forced to cancel due to new regulations, moves online

Organizers went ‘above and beyond’ to bring mom-and-pop vendors to Chilliwack, then plans changed again

A pop-up mall that was scheduled to run for two weekends in Chilliwack is still going ahead, though not in the way organizers had hoped.

The Christmas Gifts Pop-Up Mall hosted by All About Expos was supposed to be an in-person shopping experience at Chilliwack Heritage Park.

Lee-Ann Hendrickson and Sharon Dueck, the two behind the Chilliwack-based business, had been powering through constantly changing COVID-19 protocols for the past six month in hopes of bringing some normalcy to the Christmas season with their pop-up mall.

With increased sanitation, staggered hours for the two separate floors of vendors, extra space between tables and 17.5-foot wide aisles, they were going “above and beyond” the required COVID-19 guidelines, Dueck said.

And when Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Nov. 7 that new restrictions would be in place until Nov. 23, Hendrickson and Dueck made what they had hoped was the last major change in their plans. They moved their event, originally scheduled for the last two weekends in November, to Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6.

But on Thursday, Nov. 19 their dream was shattered.

Dr. Henry’s news that the new protocols had been extended until Dec. 7 meant their pop-up mall was cancelled. The two were forced to move it online.

READ MORE: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

“It’s such a disappointment, it breaks my heart. I have been crying since finding out,” Hendrickson said last Friday morning. “I feel so bad for the vendors and all the people that wanted to support them.”

So, the two are now doing what they can to still help those small mom-and-pop businesses that are struggling.

Online from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6, people will be able to view several of the products that would have been for sale at the pop-up mall.

“We are doing this for the vendors,” Hendrickson said. “It’s for them. We need to put food on everybody’s table and be able to pay bills.”

On the Christmas Gifts Pop-Up Mall event page on Facebook, shoppers can scroll through items like pottery, hand-knitted items, charcuterie boards, wreaths, door mats, soaps, food and more to find that perfect Christmas gift.

Each item pictured will have contact info of the vendor for product purchase.

The two have been bringing various events to the Fraser Valley for years all while supporting local small businesses and the Chilliwack Salvation Army.

To view items online from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6, go to www.facebook.com/events/463102031270418.

For more info go to allaboutexpos.com.

READ MORE: Last year’s Christmas Gifts Expo by All About Expos at Chilliwack Heritage Park • Dec. 7, 2019

ALSO READ: Fair-trade Christmas market pops up in Yarrow

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