Kelly Ehalt is the co-owner of Hetherington & Hooper, one of the longest-running retail stores in our little town that has had the privilege of being family owned and operated for almost all of its existence.  Kelly along with her brother Mike, work hard to remain an integral part of our little Main Street.

In the early days of dreaming of this blog, it wasn’t hard to come up with a list as long as my arm of women to interview.  Kelly was on that list- and while it did take a little while before I was able to reach out, I have a feeling that things happen at the right time for everyone.

2020 proved to be a difficult year for many of us; and while we hoped 2021 was going to be a fresh start, it didn’t necessarily work out that way.

Kelly has shared her heart with us a little- she carries a quiet strength and confidence that I admire.  I know that answering these questions can be a vulnerable experience so please join me in making sure Kelly feels honoured in this space.

Welcome to the table, Kelly!

How long have you called the Bulkley Valley home?

I have lived in Smithers all of my life with the exception of four years when I lived & worked in Vancouver. I really started to call Smithers my home when I returned from Vancouver and realized how much I missed my family and friends, the mountains and the area surrounding them. 

What is one thing you’ve learned about friendship (or community)? 

I have learned recently when you go through a difficult situation in your life you soon learn your support is not only with those closest to you but the support is with an entire community.   As important as my family is to us, our friends are just as important and become an extension of our family. 

What is one area you are growing in?

One of the more difficult questions to answer.  

Life is full of challenges so recognizing when I need help and knowing that it is ok to ask for help is a huge step for me.    I guess I am trying to learn how to be more understanding with myself. 

What is one thing you would say to your younger self?

To know that everyone has a different story. People come from all walks of life, take a moment to listen to their story.  You never know what you will learn.

Who inspires you and why?

My husband – his determination and strength during his battle with cancer.  Although he is not with us today, he fought with his heart and soul to keep pushing forward for his family.  

My kids – they help me to look at things more openly and view things from a different perspective. They make me laugh and help me not take things too seriously, always tell me it’s going to be ok and keep me grounded all at the same time. 

What do you know is true, and how do you carry that day to day? 

There are two things I know are true:

1. I know life can turn on a dime. My dad used to say “this life is no dress rehearsal”.  Live your best each day.  

2. Invest and be involved in your community.  Over the years I have enjoyed volunteering in many areas of our community (coaching, school council, various town committees, merchants association, health foundation).  It is rewarding, a great way to meet people, and makes you proud of the community you live in.  If people do not volunteer or get involved, we would not have the amenities and the community we do today.  I’m appreciative of how lucky we are to live in a community like Smithers.