Nostalgia’s great, but how long will Zellers last?

Nostalgia’s great, but how long will Zellers last?

By Shachi Kurl, President

Did the nostalgia news of Zellers’ impending resurrection hit you, as it did me, like a wave of Club Zed points waiting to be redeemed?

Easily my favourite news story of the week, it was also, I am loath to admit, an emotional one. The story of the Kurl family is tied to the past grandeur and ultimately fading importance of Canadian department stores.

Some of my earliest recollections include holding a responsible adult’s hand, toddling around Eaton’s Surprise Sales, following the slightly terrifying giant red Mr. Glump as he marked items down. Did he toot a horn? I feel like that happened.

My mother, like so many immigrants to Canada, arrived with professional qualifications, only to be told said qualifications were no good. Never mind. She cheerfully embarked in a three-decade career in retail. First Eaton’s. When that iconic chain folded, it was on to the “enemy,” Hudson’s Bay.

The ’80s were the birth of the free-trade era and the importance of buying Canadian was deeply entrenched. As we came of age, and as traditional department stores jettisoned most of their products (oh, to be able to buy a lawnmower, lipstick and lightbulbs all in the same place again), Zellers, owned by the same company as The Bay, became the go-to destination.

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.

Image – Kevin/ Flickr


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