Sailor opens a pub – that isn’t

Lt(N) Gill Herringer puts the finishing touches on a carving created in her new workspace.

Lt(N) Gill Herringer puts the finishing touches on a carving created in her new workspace.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Lt(N) Gill Herringer united her love of pubs with her creative craft tinkering to create O’Malley’s Irish Pub, Carpentry Shop, and upcoming Bakery.

Don’t let the name deceive you though, there’s no alcohol involved.

Her fledgling small business creates “fun, funky and useful wood art, with some sewing, some baking, and the best damn pickles you have ever tasted,” she says. “I’m slowly working on building up a decent inventory, but I also can do custom carving and other woodworking projects. The bakery part is what I envision adding later, you know, when I’m retired and can spend my weekends sitting behind a table at various farmers’ markets.”

The Naval Warfare Officer and instructor at Naval Fleet School (Pacific) Venture Division launched her uniquely branded workshop during the pandemic lock down, which afforded her lots of after-work free time. 

She cleared out her and her daughter’s hockey equipment and other items, and transformed the 600-square-foot unfinished basement space into a workshop. The set-up includes a work bench, woodworking tools, a label maker, organized piles of screws, and wood.

“I spent four days sorting and setting things up,” she said. “The new set up meant that instead of scrambling to pull out tools only when things needed fixing, I could actually make things, and I did.”

She has carved and built home décor items, selling them through word of mouth and her Facebook page at “very affordable prices.” The aim being to make a very modest profit, while paying for materials and giving people the opportunity to own affordable quality items.

“The business grew out of a hobby because I eventually ran out of things to make for myself,” she says. “Now I make things for friends, co-workers, and sometimes through word of mouth on my Facebook page.”

Wood carving served her well during a recent deployment aboard HMCS Ottawa for Operation Neon.

“Carving is really an activity that helps me attain a healthy work-life balance,” she says. “It’s a hobby I can take with me on my ship because I can bring my tools and wood to work on. It’s something to keep my spirits up when I’m away because it can get boring during down hours on the ship.”

But where does the pub theme fit in?

Lt(N) Herringer grew up in Montreal and before joining the navy more than 25 years ago she frequented Irish pubs such as Old Dublin and Hurley’s, where pints were hoisted, dancing ensued, and loud music blared long into the night. After joining the forces and being posted to Halifax, she visited Halifax-famed The Lower Deck. Further afield, while on deployments to South East Asia, she visited Irish pubs in Darwin and Brisbane, Australia, Singapore, and other locations.

“So when I returned home from a deployment back in 2016, I decided I would make a pretend Irish pub in my home. All you really need is to create a Facebook place and magically there is a pub that is real because the internet says it is. So of course, when it came time to find a name for my business, why not name it after the pub that doesn’t even exist?” she quips.


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