The oldest store of the Archambault group, which has been located since 1930 at the corner of Sainte-Catherine Est and Berri Streets in Montreal, will close its doors in June.
The music, book, and gift store has been open in its current form since 1972. Archambault, which initially sold sheet music and musical instruments, was founded in 1896.
In a press release published on Friday, the company noted the “growing deterioration in business prospects in the Place Émilie-Gamelin sector”.
“An in-depth internal analysis revealed that the evolution of the urban fabric in the Place Émilie-Gamelin sector, together with the evolution of consumer habits, no longer makes it possible to make the commercial operation of Archambault Berri profitable, although Florian Claveau, Communications Director of Groupe Archambault, explains, In a press release that “significant investments have been made in recent years”.
The company says construction sites and the urban mix in the city strip have had a negative impact on traffic.
The area actually looks more and more like a commercial desert, with the exception of the Place Dupuis. Many rooms are covered there. The entrance to the Berri-UQAM metro station is closed for business. There are fewer students and workers in the city center. Homelessness seems more evident there than ever before.
“Customers feel less comfortable walking around the neighborhood when there are a lot of people walking around,”I Clavo.
For Saint-Jacques District Municipal Councilor Robert Baudry, the closure of Archambault is a surprise. Trade, he said, did not warn the city of its difficulties.
“It’s a legendary work that is part of Montreal’s history. We’ve all been there, and I used to go there until recently,” said the man who is also responsible for urban planning on the executive committee.
Mr. Boudry says he is aware of the challenges of coexistence in the neighborhood. He said that a lot of efforts are being made to revitalize the area and attract businesses, including animation and pedestrians.
We started a big consultation session in the village, during which we dealt with issues of commercial development, street planning and social intervention. Intervention teams have been deployed for this population [itinérante]. But, again, it’s a shared responsibility, homelessness. It is a public health issue, so we are asking for the participation of the Quebec government to provide services adapted to this population in a balanced manner in the province,” the elected official emphasized.
About 30 people lose their jobs due to this lockdown. Many have worked in the store for 10, 15 or 20 years, according to the president of the Office and Professional Employees Association, Local Section 574 (SEPB-574), who represents them. Dominic Beland, himself a longtime Archambault worker who was being released full-time due to his union activities, was horrified Friday.
Mr. Belland stood in front of the shop to support the shopkeeper Gang Soon after she heard the news, that very morning. “There’s a lot of grief. Some expected it, some didn’t,” he said. “It’s just not Careers that we lose. We are missing out on moments of brotherhood and friendships.”
The head of the union, which includes nearly 2,000 employees from various companies, believes that “a large part of Quebec’s culture is disappearing.”
Numerous customers wandered the many aisles lined with books, games and musical instruments on Friday in the huge building of the symbol store. Mark Normandin has come out with some DVDs, including break. “Before, I would go a lot, but there are fewer and fewer options,” said the man, who says he loves old movies that are hard to find in stores today. “At Archambault in the Galeries d’Anjou, there are almost as many cushions as there are toys and gifts,” he said.
“In the past, we often came to buy CDs,” he told Maurice LaChance. “The world has changed, and people don’t buy CDs anymore.”
There are currently 15 Archambault campuses across Quebec. The channel is owned by Groupe Renaud-Bray. Florian Claveaux maintains that the company is doing well and that further shutdowns were not planned.
Note that the store’s illuminated sign, which is considered a heritage, will remain in its place, as confirmed by Kebekor, the owner of the building in which it is located.
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