The Target department store at Haney Place Mall will be among the first to go.
The bankrupt retailer will close its doors for the last time at the downtown Maple Ridge mall on Monday, and so far no new retailer has been announced to take its place.
The U.S.-based department store chain announced the timing of store closures across Canada this week, but it was no secret to Target shoppers. Huge signs in the Haney store said “Last Eight Days,” and “Everything must go” on Monday.
Almost everything has gone. The upper floor has been stripped of everything except a few stacks of merchandise, such as lamps and fans, in boxes stacked in small piles, most marked 50 per cent off.
Downstairs there is still shopping to be done, and there are long lines of customers at the tills, taking advantage of the closing out promotion prices.
Deanna Granata said she’s disappointed Target is closing. The stay-at-home mom with three young boys stopped by Target Tuesday for one last shop, picking up a number of items that were discounted.
“Target was our only big department store in Maple Ridge. For people who like to do their one-stop shop, this was it for us. It had food, clothing, home essentials and a pharmacy, which was really convenient. So yeah, I will miss that,” said Granata.
While disappointed, Granata said she’s not surprised they are closing their doors. She said the quality and quality of their merchandise didn’t meet her expectations.
“They didn’t really compete on price like I thought they would,” said Granata. “I would really like to see a Canadian store move in here.”
Narland Properties is the mall owner, and staff said they have no information about a new tenant for the building, on which Target spend $10 million renovating after purchasing the former Zellers site.
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said city hall expects the store to have a new occupant relatively soon, but the site won’t change hands for a couple of months.
“I’d like to see a good retailer in there, but basically they have a process in place where somebody assumes the lease,” said Read. “Our latest information is we’ll know by the end of May, early June, who has taken over the lease.”
She said it is a key property in the downtown core.
“I don’t think it’s going to sit empty long. Definitely, it’s a priority to us, so we want to make sure it doesn’t sit empty.
“Anybody coming in, we want them to add to the vibrancy of the downtown area.”
Ineke Boekhorst, of the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association, hopes the loss of the major retailer does not change shopping habits before a new tenant is found.
“Maybe people will stay with the smaller businesses – that’s what we hope,” said Boekhorst. “And that it’s filled soon.”
Boekhorst has heard from shoppers that they were not happy with what Target was carrying anyway, so it will not be missed; but also that it was convenient for seniors living near the downtown core.
There are 17,600 workers across Canada about to be laid off from 133 Target stores, in the biggest private sector closure in recent history. Employees have been promised 16 weeks severance pay.
There have been 16 locations closed. On Monday, the Haney Place Mall Target will be joined by those in Vernon, Saanich, Toronto, Orillia and Sudbury, as the latest closures. On April 1, more stores will close, bringing the total to 46.
The prescription information from the Target pharmacy has been transferred to the pharmacy at Extra Foods in Haney Place mall.