Fredericton — As the median age of the average New Brunswicker ticks ever upward, so do sales at home-décor store Wicker Emporium, located in the Corbett Centre on Timothy Drive in the capital city.
“I know that many people in the wicker-buying demographic are either unfamiliar with or distrusting of the Internet,” said wicker sales rep Greg Frisco, “but wickeremporium.ca offers a wealth of choice for the wicker-lover on a budget, with financing options as well as customer service contact information — you know, should these old bags have nothing to complain about and want to talk someone’s ear off about their new jute shuttle weave rug.”
“I don’t trust the Internet, and there’s too much choice,” said 74-year-old wicker connoisseur Edith Hayes, “so I buy all my baskets at the Wicker Emporium uptown. In fact, I rely on them for all the necessities in my life even beyond wicker: everything from cushions to throws to figurines. And did you know those wicker ball things are 70 percent off this week only?”
Hayes said she put wicker insurance on all her wicker items, and pays only about $200 monthly for the peace of mind this specialized insurance provides. “The thing is, all this wicker is highly flammable. My ironing board is wicker, too, so it’s quite risky when you think about it.”
Wicker Emporium’s flagship location in Yarmouth, N.S. was generous enough to fly a Manatee reporter first-class to its annual All Wicker Everything sales convention that takes place mid-January. What awaited the reporter was an auditorium packed with elderly people sitting on wicker chairs and fidgeting uncomfortably.
“I can’t stand sitting on these prickly chairs,” said attendee Robert Handell, 82, the words “Wicker? I barely know her!” emblazoned across his T-shirt. “They poke me in the backside and make so much noise every time I move a muscle. But what else is there? It’s always been wicker for me — always will be.”
The Fredericton location has seen booming business since it opened, and this passion for wicker shows no sign of slowing down. “Well, until all these old people die off,” said Frisco,”but even then, we also sell durable and affordable wicker caskets.”