Meet John & Rene Morton and the Kopas Team
John and Rene Morton own Kopas Store and are proud of the versatility of Lorrein and their other staff and the wide selections they offer. Operating Kopas Store means that John, Rene and Lorrein can be in contact with the whole community and can respond to crucial needs immediately. They can, “keep the LOVE going around rather than sending it away,” noted Lorrein.
Rene’s father started the general store in Bella Coola in 1937. “He established his own news flyer to promote his products which later promoted building the Freedom Road,” explained Rene, “his store began as a photo and gift shop, using his skills as a photographer and writer to promote the region.”
When not busy with the store, Rene loves to work on the historical preservation of the community. There are so many interesting local historical anecdotes and Rene notes some of them. “Bella Coola is the site of the termination of the first crossing of North America north of Mexico 1793,” said Rene, “and the Churches have history unrelated to faith worship, Emmanuel, Augsburg, and Holy Name of Mary, and there was Thor Heyrdahl who studied Bella Coola’s petroglyphs before his famous Kon Tiki expedition.”
Rene is an active volunteer with the local museum society. John participates in guiding community governance and volunteers with the Credit Union, the Legion, various sports teams and the Little Theatre. Together Rene and John and their staff at Kopas Store contribute to a huge number of local societies and are active volunteers – “Slo-pitch, Soccer, Basketball, Tweedsmuir Ski Club, Valley Tourism, Community Choir, SAMS Outdoor Education, Rod and Gun Club, Bella Coola Music Festival, Valley Ridge Riders, Hospital Auxiliary, Bella Coola Fall Fair, Lobelco Community Club, the Legion, the Bella Coola Valley Museum, the Little Theatre group, the ”https://lovecentralcoastbc.com/businesses/bella-coola-valley-arts-council">Bella Coola Valley Arts Council, the Festival of the Arts and a few more," said Lorrein.
Personalized. Resourceful. Unique.
Kopas Store sells unique and general dry goods to local people and tourists. They have a wide selection of items for sale including clothing, workwear, footwear, outerwear, camping and outdoor products, books, games, gifts and toys. Kopas Store stocks Nuxalk jewellery, carvings and masks, native crafts, souvenir items, fishing rods, tackle, licenses, topographic maps and marine charts. Customers often walk into the store and say, “Wow, you have everything in here!”
People choose to live in Bella Coola and Kopas Store Manager, Lorrein Gurr, says there is a feeling of security in being so far from a larger centre and notes that this distance seems to create a more independent, creative and supportive community. “People know everybody and we care for each other,” she said. Volunteerism is alive and active in Bella Coola. Lorrein notes that the community is rapidly changing from a resource based economy to multiple self-employed digital entrepreneurs who enjoy the accessibility of the outdoors and the active arts scene.
Owners John and Rene Morton, and the store manager Lorrein, enjoy the independence of operating Kopas Store and feel proud that the store has offered what customers have needed since 1937! Their consistently good customer service and willingness to adapt are the keys to their longevity in Bella Coola.
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