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Go Bollywood dancing at this New West pet store

Bosley's is celebrating its 12th anniversary with a dance gala and fundraiser

Bosley’s is celebrating its 12th birthday in true Bollywood style — complete with dance, DJ, and Indian snacks.

Karima Jivraj, owner of the pet retail store in Columbia Square, said the event will be a throwback to the store’s successful Bollywood dance party in 2016, which saw members of the New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services, New West-Burnaby MP Peter Julian, former councillors Lorrie Williams and Mary Trentadue, and mayor Patrick Johnstone burn up the dance floor. 

Now, almost seven years later, Jivraj is all set to recreate the magic of that day with a similar dance party and fundraiser. 

The event had been in the works for a while, but was delayed due to COVID. Now, with restrictions having been eliminated, and with Jivraj having recently returned from a trip to India, the timing couldn't be better, she decided.

Jivraj had spent a few weeks in India for work — to learn about animal welfare in that country and also to hand off 50 kilograms of donations (including collars, leashes, harnesses, rain jackets, e-collars that are used post surgery, etc.) to two Indian organizations that support animals. 

But other than “work,” Jivraj also made time to go shopping for Indian outfits that her team members back in New West could wear for the Bollywood party. 

“We'll be all dressed up. And we'll be ready for Bollywood!” said Jivraj, who was born in Kenya and is of Indian descent. “I grew up listening to Bollywood music, and watching Bollywood movies. It's part of my culture, part of my heritage.” 

At the March 11 event, a DJ will play peppy Indian music, and Chaiiwala of London will serve up snacks and chai for the guests. When attendees are not out on the dance floor, they can walk up to the henna corner to get their hands decked out, or simply try and make friends with the "saddest cat on the internet," BenBen, who will make a "special appearance."

The funds raised through the event will go towards New Westminster Animal Shelter.

“We have challenged MP Peter Julian, (New Westminster MLA) Jennifer Whiteside, New West police, Metro Vancouver Transit Police K9 Unit, and the New West fire department to a Bollywood dance-off at 1 p.m.,” said Jivraj. 

A community-first mindset

While it remains to be seen who all would accept the challenge this year, Jivraj stressed that it’s all for fun.

“I just want the community to come out to enjoy, have some fun, party a little bit with us. I want the community to know that I am super grateful for the support that they've given me over the last 12 years. If I didn't have that community support, I wouldn't be where I am today.” 

For Jivraj, the journey with Bosley’s started by chance. “Being from a South Asian culture I guess, my parents were like, ‘You need to have your own business.’”

Jivraj’s dad “forced” her to go to a franchise show, and it was there that she decided she was going to start a Bosley’s. Though she didn’t want to take her parents' money, “my dad was like, ‘How much is it? I'm just gonna write a cheque right now.’ That was it.” 

But right from the beginning, Jivraj knew what she wanted the store to be.

“I came in with the mindset that I want to help with animal welfare. I wanted to be the person that can help create a change, and be able to help my devoted pet lovers to do the best that they can for their animals. That was my goal.”

In the first year of business, in 2011, the store served 35,000 customers. In 2021, the count was about 85,000.

But besides the business side of it, fundraising has been a major focus at the store, she said. Over the years, they have hit close to $150,000 in donations to different organizations associated with animal welfare, she said.

“Community work and community outreach has always been a major part of my goal since I opened my store. I wanted it to be that safe resource for everybody — it shouldn't matter what their income level is to be able to take care of their animals to the best of their ability,” she said. 

“I wanted to be that store, where you could come in and ask questions and get your answers.”

“Or if we didn't have answers, we would find the answers for you. That's a big part of my customer service.” 

Tickets for the Bollywood party on March 11, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., are $25 ($10 of which will go towards the New Westminster Animal Shelter). Bosley's is located at 1015 Columbia St. in Columbia Square.


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