By Jonas Gagnon
After 30 years of operation in Fort St. James, Fields will be closing its doors here, and across Canada, sometime in the coming year.
This means a big change for Fort St. James.
Earlier last year Fields committed to closing 26 of its stores in Ontario due to the competitive nature of the market. At the beginning of this month it announced the closures would expand to include all the Fields branded stores.
The stores will be phased out over the coming year.
“All closures will be complete by fall,” said Tiffany Bourre, external communications manager for HBC, the owners of the Fields brand.
Darcy White from the Yzenberg group, the owners of the building, has not had official confirmation when the store will be leaving. Fields has a commercial lease that is not easily broken with the building owners, so the future of the space is up in the air.
“It’s not a home rental, and they can’t just give a months notice that they’re leaving,” said White.
When the store front is open to new renters White anticipates some difficulty in finding a replacement for the store.
“There’s just not a lot of retailers that take that much space,” said White.
Fields has been a successful business in that spot for it’s 30 years though, which should be a draw for future retail possibilities.
“I think a retailer could do just fine in Fort St. James.”
Town council is aware of the problems this would cause in the community and is keen to work with the building owners to see a new store open when Fields closes.
We’re in communications with the property manager and we’re confident we’ll be able to find a solution to this, and other downtown vacancies,” said Emily Colombo, Economic Development Officer for the region.