Staff at Zellers will be facing their last day on the job in Williams Lake today March 14.
While some of them might be hiding sadness or frustration from public view, it’s important before they go to let them know how stellar they have been through what’s been a long and drawn-out process.
It was last May we first got wind the store might be closing. At first Hudson Bay Company’s head office said there were no plans for closing Zellers in Williams Lake, but by the end of the year it was announced that’s indeed what was happening.
It soon became news that only three Zellers were to remain open in Canada.
Anybody visiting the store over the last six weeks has watched the stock and prices dwindle.
Aisles moved closer to the centre of the store, revealing a large empty space.
The escalators ceased running and people thought “thin” as they walked up and down the only escalator that was open, hoping not to block the person coming toward them in the opposite direction.
It’s difficult to work in a place that’s closing down, and keep dealing with the public. There are regulars who call a store home. Others who rely on a big department store for many things. Yet the staff has persistently been helpful and pleasant.
Estimates of jobs affected in the closure run between 60 to 100. Zellers staff cannot talk to the media and HBC said in one interview there were 60 employees and in another the average Zellers has around 100 associates.
As I made a final purchase there last weekend and the sales associate said my total was $92, and I’d saved $230, I muttered I felt like a thief. I remain impressed with the graciousness shown to the public by these people and wish them good luck finding new jobs.
Nothing but rumours have emerged so far as to what might be occupying the space in the future, but one thing is certain. Zellers as we know it in the lakecity will be missed.
As you close the doors tonight that one last time, be assured the closure is not taken lightly.
– Monica Lamb-Yorski/Williams Lake Tribune