Downtown ‘builder’ passes away

Jack Sheppard started downtown parking association and home show

One of the stalwarts of Maple Ridge’s downtown died May 6, at the age of 87.

Jack Sheppard founded Haney Sewing & Sound in 1969, operating it first on the south side of 224th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road, then, since about 1980, at its current location on the northwest corner.

Sheppard opened Haney Sewing & Sound after spending 25 years with the Singer Sewing Machine Company, with which he was named top salesman in Canada in 1967.

He turned down an offer to go into management for Singer and instead opened his own store in Maple Ridge and kept the word sewing in the name.

It’s kind of a weird name, Jack’s son Dave Sheppard said.

“One nice thing about having a weird name is a lot of people remember it,” he added.

“If they come to our store, hopefully they’re happy with our service and tell people.”

It wasn’t long before TVs, stereos and appliances were added to the showroom floor.

Dave said his dad just loved his job.

“He always had great customer service. He was interested in people. He enjoyed the selling. He enjoyed the interaction,” Dave said.

“I don’t think he could have had an office job. It would have driven him crazy.”

Apart from building his business, which is now run by his sons Dave and Don and grandson Greg, Jack Sheppard also helped build the community.

He sat on several local committees, belonged to the chamber of commerce and was one of the founders of the Maple Ridge Downtown Parking Society.

That society was formed in 1990 in order to buy property in the downtown for future use as parking lots – to ensure there was enough commercial parking for future years. The society then sold the parking lots, at cost, to the city.

Sheppard was one of many helping build Maple Ridge.

“It’s interesting, some of these people have that much energy to [run their businesses], keep their families happy and still contribute so much to the community,” Dave said.

Another accomplishment of Jack Sheppard’s was starting the Ridge Meadows Home Show, along with Owen Fuller of Fuller Watson.

“It was a huge undertaking, but like all the projects these two took on together, it was a great success,” said Cass Winder, who now runs the home show.

She remembers Jack as “a grand gentleman, in every sense of the word.

“He contributed hugely to the unfolding of downtown Maple Ridge and its potential. He was one of those people who spoke softly, but when he spoke, people would listen.”

While he was running his store, Jack went on several business trips. He kept traveling when he retired, taking cycling trips through France, the U.S. and South Africa.

Dave says he learned from his dad “to be fair to people. Treat everybody with respect.”