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Throwback Thursday: Looking back at the stories that made the headlines in The Packet from the Feb. 5, 2009 edition

Clarenville businesses close (from Feb. 5, 2009).
Clarenville businesses close (from Feb. 5, 2009). - file photo

10 years ago

From the Feb. 5, 2009 edition of The Packet

Clarenville businesses close

One month into 2009 and Clarenville has had four stores close their doors for business. And the demise of the fifth is only a matter of time.
It would be natural to assume it’s all a local result of the economic recession taking effect around the globe. But that’s not exactly the case.
The fact is, all five have a different reason for cashing out.
Stephanie Butt, owner of The Saltbox, connected to the Corner Mall, says the decision to close their framing and gift store was personal.
“ I really didn’t have time to do it. It wasn’t anything to do with the economy although I must say we were slower last year. Myself and my husband work full-time with three kids so we’re trying to keep up with them and stuff, so...”
They’d been planning to close for a while now and I just came time to do so.
Their doors close Jan. 31.
January also saw the downfall of Claire’s accessories in Random Square Mall.
Brenda Strong, manager of the store, says it came as a complete shock to her.
“I got a call on Jan. 5 and we closed up on the 28. I just had a few weeks’ notice, and that was it. The only thing they said is they were downsizing.”
She was employed with the company for five years. Business was good, and that’s why it’s been so hard for her to swallow.
Nine Claire’s stores in Canada were closed, while 107 were closed in the U.S. Clarenville was the only location to shut down on the island.
Claire’s, an American franchise, has been downsizing as a means of dealing with the effects of the current economic recession.
The Buck or Two in Random Square Mall is also closing. They opened May 26, 1996. Owner Gene Hanlon says the store is one of the oldest of the franchise in the country. There was a time when it was the best store for sales per square foot in the country.
Hanlon says it’s main reason for closing is obvious.
“Our store is 2000 square feet. It’s one of the smallest in the country. Random Square mall put a new tenant there that’s in the exact same business that’s 14,000 square feet. Do the math. That’s basically what happened.
“When Walmart moved out our business was basically cut in half. When Dollarama moved in it was cut in half again. Plus, rents are very high in these malls.”
Hanlon Owns the five Buck or Twos in the St. John’s area. The store in Clarenville employs seven people, including the manager, who has been with the company since day one.
The lottery kiosk sitting in the walkway of the Random Square Mall is no longer manned.
Infoplace Ticket Centers Ltd., one of the largest retailers of lottery products in Atlantic Canada filed for bankruptcy last week.
The company owns most of the lottery kiosks and booths in this province’s malls and shopping centers.
Calls to Infoplace head office in Toronto were not returned.
The Army Navy store, located in the Corner Mall, is still open, but counting down its last days in Clarenville.
The store moved from Random Square Mall to the Corner Mall in September.
Beverly Burke, who has managed the store since it opened four and a half years ago, says business has been slow to say the least since they moved.
“The owner of the store, Mike Dreddy, has another location in St. Johns, so he’s moving inventory in there.”
“If there was more space available in Clarenville for rent we would relocate and stay in Clarenville. But there’s no commercial space at all,” Burke says.
Since they moved in September there’s only been a need for her and another part-time employee.
“This place is dead. For one thing, they’re going to have to reduce the rent here to get more businesses to move in. We would probably suffer out the slow time of year if rent was more reasonable.”

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