Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Independent Downtown Business Bites the Dust

I learned this week that Apocalypse, a cool little store located at 355 Talbot Street, is closing its doors.  The owner, Bryan Ramsden, has tried to make a go of it over the last year, and it's been difficult, as it is for a lot of downtown independent businesses.  I've mentioned his store in a few of my blog posts, and even though he carries primarily men's clothing and accessories, I would stop in to have a look and a chat, and see what he had on display in the gallery space at the rear of the store.   I purchased my much-loved Palladium boots there.   His store is located in the same block that is home to Frilly Lizard, Commander Salamander, From Mars, and the excellent restaurant Kantina.  Often I will get asked by colleagues who live in the suburbs where I buy my clothing and when I've tried to explain where these stores are located I'm met with a blank stare.  It is the sad reality of London that while we are told that Downtown is on the upswing, and more new businesses are starting up, the majority of the population live in the suburbs, and spend their money in the suburbs, except if they happen to work downtown, attend an event at the JLC, or, they make their annual pilgrimage to Victoria Park for Sunfest.  People I work with have said to me, "I never go downtown.  Why would I?"

As someone who has lived, worked, and shopped downtown for the last 25 or so years, and makes a point of promoting businesses and activities going on downtown on this blog, it makes me sad to hear things like that.  Ladies and gentlemen of City Hall, there is something seriously wrong here that no amount of brightly-coloured metal trees or two hours free parking on Saturdays is going to fix.  I wish I had the answer.  

But, back to my original theme, which is the closing of a store that added another element of funkiness to downtown.   Bryan is closing the doors this Thursday (June 30th), and everything in the store is 25% off, with a larger discount if  you're paying cash.   Stop in and have a look around, say hello.  There was still a good selection of cool kicks, hats, watches and shirts when I was in on Saturday.

3 comments:

  1. That does suck! There is nothing more difficult that trying to run a small business downtown when you are competing the low cost of clothing at the mall and all the free parking you could possibly want.
    It is a matter of priorities and community.
    We need more people to realize how important these things are.
    Scary times :(
    Thanx for a great post.

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  2. Very sad post. I agree with Weezi that it's about community. We need to start building communities -- not drive-thrus. We need downtown to be a safe, welcoming place to shop but people seem very addicted to their cars and the pull of parking is a strong one.

    Personally I'd love downtown to go car-free (how great would that be a big walking street on Dundas btwn Wellington and Clarence (or hey, RIchmond!) but then perhaps we wouldn't have enough of a car-addicted public willing to park further away and walk down/over/up. However, when gas prices get high enough, perhaps more folks will ride their bicycles, walk and take public transit == and that would make downtown an attraction -- car-free!

    Meantime, let's try to support local businesses and avoid ever shopping at the box stores. And ride our bikes of course (oddly enough I live downtown and work at Gainsborough & Wonderland, but I ride my bicycle most days)! THanks as always for your great posts -- you've been a champion support of small businesses!! And downtown!!

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  3. You are both right, it is about COMMUNITY, a word that's thrown around a lot, but one whose meaning is often lost on developers.

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