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Beyond the Usual: A shop for everyone

Inspired by creating a simpler life for their family, Judy and Chris Istace relocated to Chemainus five years ago. A few months later they opened their shop, Beyond the Usual (BTU). “We saw a need in the community that we knew needed to be filled: a shop that offered clothing and shoes for the whole family,” says Judy.

A shop for everyone

BTU is a store for the entire family. “We often get people assume it’s just a shop for teens, just a clothing store or just a skate shop. We are all of it! And we probably sell more product to grandmothers than to youth. Our store is for everyone. Plus, we have great gift ideas,” explains Chris.

With a name like Beyond the Usual, it’s obvious shoppers can find unique items in this store. Judy makes gemstone bracelets that are as unique as the wearer. They also carry some brands that are not found in any other shop in the area. Salt Water Sandals, for example, are perfect for everyday wear from the water to the street. And United by Blue, an environmentally conscious brand, that removes a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every item purchased.

“Our two most popular selling footwear are Native Shoes and Birkenstocks. For clothing we sell lots of Volcom which is a surf inspired apparel line but our next best seller is our own "Beyond the Usual" or "BTU" shop-designed clothing that both locals and tourists love,” says Chris.

With so many great finds, customers are often overheard saying, “What a cute shop” and “so many great finds.”

Community spirit

Judy and Chris are very active in the community as volunteers for a variety of organizations. Judy also makes bracelets and mala necklaces that are sold online and at BTU and facilitates community workshops helping others create their own. Chris is a successful freelance writer and photographer built on all the mountain biking, trail running and mountain climbing he has done here on Vancouver Island. He has worked for many tourism organizations and has been published in several magazines.

When asked what the future holds for BTU, Judy says, “Ideally we would like to expand our space and bring in more brands but we also want to make sure that we do what is in the best interest of the business while keeping our customers happy.”

BTU is open every day:

Hours: Sun: 11- 4, Mon: 10-4, Tues – Sat: 10-5,

9770 Willow Street

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