Friday, March 7, 2014

Kingsmill's closing after 148 years

This is three days old. I made an error when posting. Oops! Oh well, better late than . . .

Paper covering the windows at Kingsmill's is removed prior to the store opening.

After 148 years the Kingsmill's department store in downtown London, Ontario, is closing its doors. The store remains popular and profitable but the family no longer has any member ready to take the reins controlling the long-running retail operation.

Many Londoners, like my wife and I, are sad to see the old store closing. It was stocked with good products at fair prices. Today is the start of the going-out-of-business sale and only customers presenting invitations are being allowed into the store. All prices are marked down 25 percent for the event.

I expected hordes of folk arriving early, eager to be among the first into the store. When my wife and I arrived there were not a dozen people waiting at the store's front door. The numbers swelled prior to opening but the numbers were no where near those attracted to suburban stores on Boxing Day.

Personally, I think there should have been a way to maintain the department store experience. The old store is an important component of the downtown retail experience. I wonder what would be the problem with six or seven retailers taking over the store with each managing a different department. The iron beds area would be one retailer's section, while the china shop would be operated by another.

When I moved to London there were three downtown department stores: Eatons's, Robert Simpson's and Kingsmill's. At one point the Bay moved into what was then the Galleria mall where Eaton's was also located. Today all four are gone from the core.

The number of shoppers swelled in the moments before the store opening.

No comments: