›› Kathryn Juricic
Friendly Giant is a Fernwood-owned business. For seven and a half years the husband and wife duo, Chelsea and Shawn Vinesen, were operating out of their home on Fernwood Road (you might recall seeing a few trucks here and there). The business recently moved into and renovated the old Askim’s Beer & Wine Emporium on Haultain Street—yes, next to Haultain Fish & Chips.
They told me the humble beginnings of Friendly Giant, which now offers moss removal, window and gutter cleaning, and power washing on high rise, residential and commercial properties. It all started when Chelsea and Shawn borrowed $1,000 from Shawn’s dad to purchase an old Econoline van. Their business has nearly doubled every year since then through word-of-mouth and repeat customers and is now thirteen employees strong!
It’s not just their friendly demeanor that they lead with; they’re great at what they do. In February this year, the Friendly Giant team travelled to Kissimmee, Florida to compete in the International Window Cleaners Association Speed Cleaning Competition. Shawn finished 7th after cleaning three large windows in 19 seconds (the World Record is 9 seconds)! Friendly Giant is a success due to their team, attention to detail, hard work, and care for others.
That’s definitely the vibe when working with these two who have sponsored FernFest for many years. (Friendly Giant also supports the neighbourhood through the Vining Street Party on the Plaza and Theatre Inconnu.) So why did they choose to support their local neighbourhood festival? Chelsea has been in Fernwood since going to high school at Vic High, “Fernwood means so much to me. We just love the community. FernFest is the embodiment of Fernwood, it brings everyone together in such a beautiful way.”
Shawn chimed in, “How could you not want to support something that brings all your friends together?”
Chelsea and Shawn are certainly a power couple. They complement each other and function as a great team. She takes on most of the accounting, communications, and advertising, while he is in charge of overseeing the technicians and daily activities.
On working as a team, Chelsea noted, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. We live together, work together, travel together.”
Shawn smiled, “We’ve pretty much been inseparable for twelve or thirteen years but only together for eight.”
Chelsea finished that thought, “We were best friends first.”
You can find Friendly Giant online at friendlygiant.com or by phone at 250-884-4596.