On April 30th, 2017, I gave notice to our landlords vacate the premises of our downtown store location. We will be Closing our Downtown Store on October 31st, 2017.
It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have to announce that we are in the position where we are closing our downtown store on October 31st, 2017. This is in compliance with the 6-month notice that we are obliged to provide. This is going to be a LONG good-bye! Now, I know why businesses don’t advertise that they are closing well in advance.
I tried to squeeze another month before giving our notice to see if things improved but had to finally resign to the reality – things are not improving and I have to minimize our losses.
When I first opened the store downtown I was very excited to have a grocery store in the downtown core which I saw as being somewhat of a food desert. We are the only grocery store between 109th and 97th street.
We ask you to continue supporting us during this period.
There is a possibility that we could move to a different location but sales need to increase to encourage us to venture along that limb again.
When Sobeys closed down I was concerned that we would not be able to meet the demand for good quality groceries at fair prices and offering organic foods. This demand did not materialize.
The downtown store has never made money. It always ran at a deficit. It was propped up by the Whyte Avenue store but that extra funds from Whyte have diminished and I am simply running out of money.
I want to thank our downtown staff. I have let them down by employing them in a business venture that has failed. Only a few of them will be able to be absorbed by the Whyte Avenue store but sorry to say that some of them will be unemployed. Not a good situation and one that I feel horrible about.
I am sad to leave the relationships that I/we have developed over the past two years. I enjoyed my time with you all and thanks for the support, friendship, love and consideration you extended to us/me. I will miss you all.
I have failed the downtown community by not being what they/you wanted. Sorry about that.
I am not a businessman. I am a person that does business. I think a “good” business person would have done things a bit differently since their value system has a different focus and that a “good” business person would have seen the writing on the wall a while ago and pulled out of this venture but I see more than just the return on investment of a financial return. I am after making the world better but I also have to ensure that the store(s)/cafe are financially sound so that they can carry on. I can only carry a lost for so long.
Here are a couple of articles written about the announcement:
Edmonton Examiner – I appreciate that the expert from the UofA seems to agree with my assessment of the downtown core.
- Scott McKeen is the councillor for the downtown business core. He has never shopped at our store – okay – maybe that is an exaggeration since I think I saw him in the store once buying something. He lives 1/2 a block away.
- Jacek operates quite a different business than we do. The people that are walking along will likely be more willing to pop in for a beautiful chocolate treat. I understand that they are wonderfully tasting chocolates (I don’t eat chocolate but have bought some for the staff and others for treats, to support a local business and neighbour on 104th). I think I read somewhere on their site some time ago, that they are based on a fashion design model – a boutique model. We are a simple grocery store. Nothing sexy. I have always said that an upscale import grocery store would do well on 104th – selling great flavoured oils, stuffed olives, great cheeses, imported specialty foods – kind of like Italian Centre but up a couple of notches. I don’t have what it takes to be that kind of store.