Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer has announced she is closing her store, … comforts the sole. (File phone by Advocate staff).

Longtime Red Deer business owner retiring

Downtown business closing in the new year

Longtime downtown shop owner Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer announced in January she is closing her store.

This week, a special event for loyal customers of Comforts The Sole was held. Employees will be on the job until Dec. 31.

“We’ve had our shop up for sale probably for about two years,” said Watkinson-Zimmer, who has operated the business, which specializes in Birkenstocks, for almost 27 years.

“Time is marching on and I’m not getting any younger. I love my store. I love the customers. I love being downtown, but there comes a time.”

As a former teacher and city councillor, she said it’s her third time retiring, but she plans to keep busy with her church and in the community.


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She said there were a few nibbles from potential buyers, and one larger bite, but nothing happened.

The shop, at 4812 50th Ave., is the old Mitchell & Jewell building, with wood floors and original brick.

Watkinson-Zimmer, who owns the building, said she wants to make sure the next business is a good fit for the downtown.

“We’re going to be very picky. It’s something that’s going to be worthwhile. We’re in no rush. If it looks good, we’ll certainly lease it and we’re open to selling as well.”

She said small businesses run this country. It’s hard work, but she will miss setting up her products outside during sidewalk sales and the downtown summer market.

“Little Gaetz is a really neat street. We’ve got great neighbours. We’re quite a little community here. It’s been fun.”

She said while some people prefer online shopping, others still like visiting stores to see products up close, or to just browse.

“There’s a social thing about it. There was a woman in the store yesterday and she said I love shopping with my friends, then we go for lunch.”


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