A well-known local business is turning the lights off for good after more than three decades.
Red Deer Lighting and Home Furnishings announced on December 26 they are shutting their doors, saying that due to current economics and more people shopping online, they felt it was best to shut down at this time.
“We had a good run, from a small store in the Parkland Mall for 5 years, to moving to the North End for 14 years and finally building and moving to our current location back in 2005, they said on Facebook. "We appreciate all our customer's and the relationships we have made along the way.”
Managing partner Ryan Philip admits it was a very difficult decision they expected might happen last spring when doing their business forecast for the upcoming year.
“We tried to get another lighting showroom in our building to just lease the premise with leaseholds in place and start their own operation in Red Deer,” says Philip. “We talked to several others in Calgary, Edmonton, and one national. Good discussions with them but everyone’s looking at online sales, so brick and mortar showrooms are going to be a thing of the past, we’re anticipating.”
As a result, Philip says they made the decision last summer to list their building (5001-19 Street) for sale or lease. It sold within five days and four months later after conditions were removed.
Philip says staff were then informed of their plans to close.
“Final conditions were removed December 20 or 21 and after three or four extensions with the deal just to get everything worked out, we told the staff the next day,” he explains. “It was a very emotional day, the staff are like our family, we’re talking 10 or 15 years plus with a lot of my employees. It was a tough decision but the staff are phenomenal, they’re all sticking around to the end and I can’t say enough positive things about every single one of them.”
Philip says they’re currently down to five staff until the store officially closes February 7. A couple planto retire next month, while others have opportunities elsewhere.
“I had 25 (staff) four years ago,” he notes. “That’s how bad this recession is. It killed us.”
Being a family-run business, Philip says it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for 32 years.
“Your heart and soul is committed to this, this is your bread and butter, it’s what you live for,” states Philip. “We’ve been through four or five recessions and nothing like this, nothing this extensive for this amount of time. We’ve adjusted our expenses to come in line with where we’re at but it’s just a stressful last year.”
Philip says staff has been working six or seven days a week and 10 hour days, leaving all of them exhausted.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see more retail businesses start closing doors the way consumers are shopping,” says Philip. “Things are changing, I understand why they’re doing it, just quick and easy and convenient. I could order a light from my vendors and it would take three weeks to get here or you can go online and order and be there two days to your house. How can I compete with that?”
Looking back, Philip says he’s most proud of what the business has been able to do for the community.
“All the causes we supported, we supported minor hockey, Kinsmen, Women’s Shelter, Red Deer Hospice,” states Philip. “Unfortunately we’re not able to support them anymore due to the economic slowdown and that’s just one less cause that’s given money from a local business. When people start buying online, they don’t realize the ripple effects.”
Philip says a group of investors who purchased the building will take over the space by February 21 and open sometime in July following extensive renovations, adding he can’t thank the community enough for its support over the years.
“Great people to work with, great contractors, great consumers,” he exclaims. “We had a blast and enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a sad day to see it close but the perfect storm is happening for us to move forward. This is an opportunity to go out on our own decision and be prosperous in the end.”
Over the next month, Red Deer Lighting and Home Furnishings is running sales to clear out inventory.
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