Port Dover’s downtown Giant Tiger store is closing.
Owner Ton Dicke was in the store on Monday and confirmed for The Maple Leaf the store will close at the end of July 2014. He referred other questions to Giant Tiger’s Vice-president Marketing Lauren Moir in Ottawa. Ms Moir was unavailable to speak to The Maple Leaf but released a communication.
Decision is final
“We have been receiving inquiries relating to our store closing in Port Dover,” says Ms Moir. “As our customers are part of the Giant Tiger family we take this very much to heart. We understand that Giant Tiger is and has always been a pillar for our communities, therefore the decision process on whether to close a store is a very difficult one indeed.”
Vice-president Moir continued, “As our lease has now ended we have made the difficult decision not to renew. We always endeavour to keep our prices low for our customers. That requires a customer count at our stores that unfortunately we are not seeing in Port Dover. Be assured that we always look at all options to avoid a store closing and disappointing any members of the Giant Tiger customer family. Unfortunately, it is our only option in this isolated case.”
The vice-president stated firmly, “the Port Dover store will be closing on July 31, 2014”.
In conclusion, Ms Moir commented, “Store owners, Ton and Laura Dicke, would like to extend their sincere thanks to their customers for their loyal support over the years, and many heartfelt thanks also to their team for all of their hard work and dedication. Their staff will be able to apply for employment at other Giant Tiger store locations.”
Owner Dicke stated the floor space of the store is 5000 sq. ft. He said he also owns Giant Tiger franchises in Smithsville (since 1993) and Hagersville (2001). He stated neither of those stores will be affected by what is happening in Port Dover. He is not planning on retiring at this time. Mr. Dicke recalled purchasing the retail business from Ian and Dorothy MacKay 20 years ago. His wife, Laura, was in charge of the Port Dover store’s opening.
The building is owned by Joe and Lee Ventoso of Port Dover. They stated only “the store closing will be a loss for our community”.
Wells wants to help
Councillor John Wells told The Maple Leaf on Monday “obviously I am disappointed to learn of the closing of the Giant Tiger store,” adding “there is no good news concerning the closing”. He called the big store in the heart of the downtown, “an anchor store” that drew people to shop there “as well as being responsible for the spin-off effect of people shopping in other stores while downtown”.
He noted that summer visitors to town also patronized the store. “We are very fortunate to have had the Giant Tiger store here,” the councillor noted, adding “it has served the town very well”.
Councillor Wells told The Maple Leaf he intended to speak with Mayor Dennis Travale prior to Tuesday’s regular council meeting, asking how can the municipality support private businesses.
Port Dover resident Guy Gilchrist forwarded an email to Mayor Dennis Travale on Monday afternoon. His message confirmed that Giant Tiger is closing, stating; “This is a devastating blow to Port Dover and other businesses in the area as Giant Tiger is probably responsible for over 50% of the traffic flow. How can you see yourself, Council and Economic Development responding to this?”
Mayor Travale responded promptly in an email; “This is indeed a blow to Port Dover and Norfolk. Council and staff are very seldom informed of such private / corporate decisions in advance and hence we come to the game late and with few options. Through this email I am asking our EcDev staff (under Mr. Baird) to contact both the franchisee and the building owner to see what options there might be and to offer full assistance to market and fill the space with another “destination” enterprise. I am confident that this prime commercial space will be very attractive to others.”