Fabricland said goodbye to customers on Thursday for the final time at its downtown site, but the search continues for a new Red Deer location.
The store’s lease was coming to an end and the decision to move was announced on April 1 to escape the crime and blatant drug use in its neighbourhood.
Safe Harbour Society’s emergency shelter is located at the other end of the building occupied by Fabricland. Alberta Health Service’s overdose prevention site is in an ATCO trailer in Safe Harbour’s parking lot about half a block away.
“We’re still getting tagged at night, but not too bad,” said manager Holly Proulx on Thursday.
She said the security guard stationed at the door over the last year has been terrific at dealing with people who were drunk or on drugs trying to get inside the store, stealing, hanging out on the front steps, or harassing customers.
Fabricland relocated to the 13,000 sq ft space at 5239 53rd Ave. about 10 years ago from the south end of the city.
On Wednesday customers were showing their appreciation to staff by dropping off cakes, other baked goods and thank-you cards.
“Yesterday was so nice. They’re really sad to see us go.”
Customers have also been busy shopping at the store. Prices were drastically reduced over the last three months to sell off as much stock as possible, and about 70 per cent has been sold. Staff have until June 29 to pack up the remaining stock and send it to other stores.
“They are looking for a new place. So as soon as we find a new place, we’ll reopen. Everybody is working on it,” said Proulx who received an email from Fabricland’s head office indicating that some locations were being scouted on Thursday.
“It’s finding the right place, at the right size, and definitely a better location.”
She said the new location would need to be at least as big as the current space and somewhere the store would get walk-in customers, which hasn’t been happening. For now, where it will reopen and when is not yet known.