Alberni Zellers to close in 2013

Zellers in Port Alberni will close its doors for the last time in 2013. While no other tenant has been named some are floating ideas.

Zellers in Port Alberni is closing.

An employee of Zellers who asked not to be named confirmed the development on Thursday. “We just found out. That’s it. I don’t know what else to say.”

According to the employee the move is slated to take effect in March 2013. “At least I’ve got a year to figure something out. I can move if I have to. Others have been here for a long time though and can’t.”

In November 2011, HBC spokesperson Tiffany Bourre said that “The store is not scheduled to close; it is operating business as usual. No move is planned.”

Bourre wasn’t available for comment at deadline.

In January Minneapolis-based Target Corp. purchased leaseholds on 189 Zellers stores from the Hudson’s Bay Company for $1.8 billion.

In early 2011, Target chose 105 locations in 10 Canadian provinces to become part of their chain, including 15 in B.C.

On the Island, stores in Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Victoria are converting to Target stores.

Target finished cherry-picking Zellers stores last fall. Port Alberni wasn’t among the stores picked and no further store acquisitions were planned.

Losing such an anchor tenant is a blow to the uptown area, said uptown merchant Gary Robertson.

“When Target bought all those stores and Alberni’s wasn’t among them you knew their time was up,” Robertson said. “I don’t think anyone is surprised.”

There could be a silver lining in the development though. It could be a bonanza if the right tenants occupy the facility, Robertson said.

“It’s a huge building that you lease to several businesses if you broke the place into smaller pieces,” Robertson said.

A food store, which is badly needed in the uptown area, as well as small movie theatres and a food court in the basement of the Zellers building are two ideas Robertson touted.

“Those things would draw people uptown during the day and night. It would also help stop people from going over the hump to shop and see a movie,” he said.

Another department store like Zellers in the area would be nice. But the growing senior population in the uptown would benefit from a green grocer, said Gayle Stephens-Player, spokespeson for the Historic South Port Society.

“It would be great for them if they could purchase what they need in the uptown,” Stephens-Player said.

The move is sad but Stephens-Player agreed that something else will come along. “It’s like a button off our shirt and in the long term we’ll be fine,” she said. “We’ll carry on.”

reporter@alberrnivalleynews.com

Edited to reflect confirmation.

Just Posted

Alberni Valley Blazers win double gold in girls’ softball

U16 and U14 girls win their respective provincial championships

Ottawa singer songwriter Victor Nesrallah plays Char’s Landing July 22

VIA Rail’s latest ‘artist on board’ takes first Vancouver Island tour

Green housing project sparks interest in Port Alberni

Maitland Street multi-family residence raises bar on affordability

Port Alberni ponders adding office spaces to Harbour Quay

Waterfront space is currently zoned for retail and tourism

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

VIDEO: Sproat Lake hosts annual regatta

2018 Alberni Valley event featured two days of boat racing action

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Most Read