‘We blame the pandemic’: Cape Breton gift shop prepares to permanently close


A family-run gift shop in Cape Breton is permanently closing after struggling to stay open during the pandemic.

Arlie’s Gifts has been a staple for years on Commercial Street in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.

The mom-and-pop style boutique had three locations in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality before COVID-19 hit. Two others have already closed and now the flagship store in Glace Bay, where it all started, will soon be closing.

“We blame the pandemic. It’s really killed business for the last three years,” said store owner Earl Morgan.

“Lately, people have followed the rules. They just don’t come shopping. »

Some employees have been around almost as long as the store itself.

“It’s sad to see it closed. I enjoyed my job,” Joan McCormick said.

“Our loyal customers, many of them passed away, then online shopping didn’t help any, but I’m ready to retire.”

Arlie’s closure is the latest in a long list of stores along Glace Bay’s main thoroughfare to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve probably lost 15 companies in the last 10 years,” Morgan said.

“It’s kind of sad that I think we’re the last womenswear in downtown Cape Breton.”

For Morgan, it’s the end of a long career that began by ringing up customers at a store run by his parents 70 years ago. For now, he’s enjoying the crowds who’ve come for one last bargain.

“The last five days have been unreal,” Morgan said.

“Just steady at the cash register all the time. People are expressing their condolences that we are leaving and they will miss it.”

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