Carol Dale at a Red Hat Society event in one of her custom-made hats. (Photo supplied)

Carol Dale at a Red Hat Society event in one of her custom-made hats. (Photo supplied)

In Our Valley: Carol Dale

Carol keeps the diva in her alive, not giving into retirement

Not knowing how to step off the gas, Carol Dale turns work and family into her hobbies, and hasn’t looked back.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Carol got started off her professional career working for the Royal Bank of Toronto.

Being the oldest of four sisters, Carol was always roped into helping out her mom when she needed it, as she would take on the babysitting duties while living in Toronto.

“There was seven year difference between me and my oldest sister, then two years between her and the next, than my mom had another one who was 20 years younger than me,” Dale said.

“So, I was getting married for the first time while my mom was having a baby shower.”

With a dollar and a dream, Carol Dale left the big city and moved to Kitimat with her future husband, Bob, when he got a job opportunity at Alcan, in 1976.

“Bob asked me to come out west with him so I thought, what the hell,” Dale said.

With $600 in their pockets and a vehicle packed with whatever they could fit, Carol and Bob drove across Canada in the middle of December.

“We had a shagon wagon with pom pom balls on it.[…] The car had holes in the floor board, the heat stopped so we had to buy a tent heater in Thunder Bay to keep the window from freezing up, and wore snowmobile suits the whole way up because it was cold considering the holes in the floor,” Dale said.

“We had a couple close calls getting stuck but we managed to make it. The thing died though once got here though.”

Settling into Kitimat, Carol started off working for the District of Kitimat as a secretary for a short period of time, until she got a job working under the vice president of Eurocan for about five years, then joined the Alcan team for roughly ten years.

After Alcan, Carol got a job at All-West Glass where she continues to work part-time.

“I retired when I was 62 from All-West Glass, but the manager’s wife had died and they needed some help. So I went back to help the other girl who was working alone there, but ended up staying, and now I work a day and half a week for them.”

Throughout Carol’s later days of employment at All-West Glass, she began to develop a knack for detailing and designing hats and jewelry for her fellow red hatters. Always having a line of ladies constantly coming to the makeshift storefront at her house, Carol decided, a month and a half after ‘retiring’, to take her hobbies of customizing hats and jewelry a step further and begin reaching out to local retailers.

“I thought when I retired I needed something to do, so maybe I’ll take the jewelry and put it into shops and sell it on consignment. I would go and buy jewelry wholesale and sell it, to about five different places, and make a profit.” Dale said.

Carol thought this is something she can handle when she was retired, but shortly into her new venture, a local day spa in Kitimat asked her if she wanted to run a retail shop out of the extra space they currently had available.

“I had really no interest being in the clothing business, I didn’t know a thing about it. My husband wasn’t to thrilled either because we were both at retirement age,” Dale said.

However, as things evolved over time, Carol ended up taking over the space and brought in her daughter, Meaghan, as partner of their company, For The Diva in You, in 2012.

Though Carol didn’t give herself time to embrace retirement, she’s been recognized for the WISE Awards, which is a wisdom, initiative, skills and experience award for 50 company owners over the age of 50.

Carol also now get’s the opportunity to work with her daughter and travel around the country for shows and wholesale buying events to bring product back to their storefront.

“I love working with my daughter, we’ve gotten real close. We travel to the shows together and it gives us time alone; she’s pretty much my best friend,” Dale said.

Though Carol and her husband, Bob, once upon a time did contemplate moving away from Kitimat, they settled here once their children and grandkids started moving closer to the home base.

“One daughter was in Calgary and the other one was in Vancouver, so we thought about moving back to Ontario, but they all had kids and they all moved back home. So that ain’t happening, because I obviously don’t want to leave my grandbabies,” Dale said.

Still committing herself to full time employment, Carol continues to balance two jobs, working at both For The Diva in You and All-West Glass.

“I like working and me working two jobs is fine with me. As long as I can do it, I’m going to continue working, but Bob on the other hand, he likes to stay home and putter around doing odd jobs and take care of the home, which is fine by me,” Dale said.

READ MORE: In Our Valley – Ron Lechner



jacob.lubberts@northernsentinel.com

 

Though Carol contemplated retiring at 62, the work-life couldn’t get enough of her as currently works two jobs, with one of them being a store she owns called, For The Diva in You. (Photo supplied)

Though Carol contemplated retiring at 62, the work-life couldn’t get enough of her as currently works two jobs, with one of them being a store she owns called, For The Diva in You. (Photo supplied)