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Lacombe’s Silver Cove expands to Red Deer

Looking for some ammolite or zoisite? Perhaps your tastes lie somewhere between in the geological alphabet.

Regardless, a Lacombe business has made shopping a little easier for rock, gem and mineral hounds.

Silver Cove, which operates out of a 4,000-square-foot store in Lacombe, opened a location in Red Deer last Friday. Located at 4418 Gaetz Ave., in the former premises of Flaman Fitness, the new store is about half the size of its Lacombe site but carries the same mix of products, said Melissa Robak, who owns Silver Cove with her husband Chris.

“We will carry all of the beads and findings; we’ll have the fossils and the crystals and the gemstones and jewelry.”

Not only is Silver Cove the go-to place in Central Alberta for gems and minerals, it supplies more than 70 other stores in Western Canada, said Robak.

“Our products come from all over the world.

“We just brought in a selection here in January of two tons of zeolite minerals from India, and we sourced those directly from the mine.”

Silver Cove also organizes a big gem and mineral show in Lacombe every fall and spring: Rocktober and Rocktopia.

“Those shows have actually spawned off on their own, and we now host seven different gem and mineral shows throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Robak.

Silver Cove’s origins date back a decade, when the Robaks started selling finished jewelry at farmers markets. Because they were both rock and mineral enthusiasts, they had rough stones on hand that they’d show jewelry buyers.

“People started wanting to buy the specimens that we were showing,” said Melissa Robak.

This prompted them to expand their product offerings to include rough stones, polished pieces, finished jewelry, carvings and even home decor items.

“Basically, if it is gem- or mineral-related in any way, shape or form, we like to have it.”

Robak and her husband opened their Lacombe shop in 2009. They later contemplated a move to Red Deer but decided instead to expand the store.

However, ongoing requests by customers for a store in Red Deer convinced the couple to open a Silver Cove kiosk at Parkland Mall last fall. The success of that venture convinced them to open a full-fledged store in the city.

Red Deer has been without a gem and mineral dealer for years, noted Robak, and the high-traffic, well-lit bay on Gaetz Avenue seemed ideal for a shop.

In addition to its retail business, Silver Cove conducts classes and organizes public and private rock hunting expeditions. Robak hinted that further expansion could be on the horizon.

“We’ve got a five-year plan of moving into sort of a 10,000-square-foot bay and putting up a big mounted skeleton.”

Despite the growing demands of their business, the Robaks still make time for the hobby that got them into it.

“We’ve always been avid rock-hunters,” said Melissa. “I think one of our first dates was rock-hunting.”

Additional information about Silver Cove can be found on its website and Facebook pages.

The Red Deer store will have a grand opening June 27 to 29, with its hours of operation thereafter 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

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