PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
(Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Dastkar isn’t an easy store to find, but those interested in one-of-a-kind Chiniot-style furniture can speak to the owner of the Shahi Pakwan restaurant on 43rd Avenue in Vernon for a look at the products stashed next door. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)Dastkar isn’t an easy store to find, but those interested in one-of-a-kind Chiniot-style furniture can speak to the owner of the Shahi Pakwan restaurant on 43rd Avenue in Vernon for a look at the products stashed next door. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
(Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
(Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
(Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
(Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Imran Imran, owner of Shahi Pakwan restaurant in Vernon, opened a new furniture store featuring handmade pieces in the Chiniot style in December 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)Imran Imran, owner of Shahi Pakwan restaurant in Vernon, opened a new furniture store featuring handmade pieces in the Chiniot style in December 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

When a Vernon businessman secured the lease for the building beside his East Indian cuisine restaurant late last year, he’d planned to use it as a dining room. But with COVID-19 shortening his staff, he instead filled the new space with an altogether different sort of delicacy.

Imran Imran opened the Shahi Pakwan restaurant on 43rd Avenue with his wife in 2019. Business has been steadily growing since then, and their clientele has held firm despite the pandemic.

“The business was growing, and we just decided to open a dining restaurant,” Imran said, having taken over the new space in December 2020.

“Unfortunately, because of COVID, and because we already leased this place, we decided to change the business model.”

Their latest venture, Dastkar, is a furniture store unlike any other in Vernon and perhaps the Okanagan. The handmade and carefully detailed products are imported from Pakistan and crafted in the Chiniot style — named after a city in Pakistan famous for its intricate wooden furniture, which commonly features carved rosewood inlaid with brass.

READ MORE: New beginnings for longtime North Okanagan restaurateur

As Imran explains, Dastkar translates from Urdu to English as ‘handmade’ or ‘handyman.’ The more elaborate pieces can take an expert crafter weeks or months to complete.

It’s a business he’s carrying over from the days before he immigrated to Canada in 2005.

“I had this business in Taiwan, so that was already in my mind,” he said. “I had knowledge and experience about this kind of product, so we just decided to do it here.”

Imran once lived in Hong Kong and worked for a trading company that dealt the sorts of products that can now be found at Dastkar.

The first room upon entering the front door is packed full of recently imported, one-of-a-kind pieces, from coffee tables to wooden ship ornaments. Other rooms are filled with handcrafted marble goblets, brass ornaments and Indian and Pakistani jewellery. There are swing chairs, colourful paintings and troves of gem stones and marble oddities.

Imran has a passion for attention to detail, in both the kitchen and in wooden products.

“It’s artwork, and I love the beauty. I like to create things that are more unique and attractive … As you can see I am a chef,” he said, gesturing towards his flour-covered apron and kitchen slacks.

The furniture store is hard to find. Located in a nondescript building right up against 43rd Avenue traffic, the door is locked most of the time as Imran and his wife busily run the kitchen.

The hope is the pandemic-induced staff shortages will soon be reversed, freeing up time for Imran’s wife to run the furniture store. Currently, those wanting to view or purchase furniture can pop into the restaurant and ask for Imran.

READ MORE: New Vernon entrepreneurs navigate through COVID times


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Home Furnishings

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week. Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

The images are of Bald Eagles feeding.
Birds of prey

Princeton photographer captures compelling photos of a Bald Eagle breakfast

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Most Read