Target is now officially closed across Canada, bringing an end to perhaps the biggest blunder in Canadian retail history. After the January announcement of plans to shut down in Canada, Target stores entered liquidation in February using signage that was identical to what Zellers used in most of the same spaces, just over 2 years ago. In a weird twist of fate, Zellers has officially outlasted its “successor”, as two Zellers stores remain open in Ontario as outlets for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Calgary is a growing city and there are many areas that are undergoing construction. Urban renewal has occurred in many older neighbourhoods, especially downtown where office towers have replaced most smaller structures.
In the past year, the Hudson’s Bay Company announced that Zellers was not viable for them anymore, and that Target Corporation would be taking over its lease agreements (though not the Zellers brand or company itself). This post documents a brief history of the establishment of Zellers decades ago, specifically in my hometown of Saint John, and its disappearance from Calgary where I now live.
Zellers began in 1931 as a “store for thrifty Canadians” with the purchase of 16 Canadian locations from a U.S. retailer. Within 25 years, Zellers had 60 stores. Like many retailers, the chain initially operated only in the downtowns of cities. It wasn’t until 1960 when Zellers opened its first suburban location.
One early Zellers location was Store No. 3 on King Street in Saint John back in the 1950’s. Credit goes to Hudson’s Bay Company Heritage Services for sending me this photo along with these details about the store: Continue reading