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DonLever

Iconic Army & Navy Department Store to Close Permanently After 101 Years

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https://globalnews.ca/news/6925509/coronavirus-army-navy-closing/

 

I used to frequent the store on Hastings Street in the 1960's and the 1970's and into the 1990's so it is a bit sad to see them go.   I have not gone for a long time though.   I always wonder how they manage to stay in business so long after so many changes in the retail landscape.   In recent years the store was mostly empty as people went shopping elsewhere. 

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A 101-year-old retail icon in B.C. and Alberta is closing due to financial pressures from COVID-19.

Army & Navy closed its department stores “temporarily” in March due to the pandemic.

But in a statement Saturday, president and CEO Jacqui Cohen said while the company had hoped to reopen, “the economic challenges of COVID-19 have proven insurmountable.”

“I am full of gratitude for our staff and their years of service, our suppliers with whom we forged decades-long relationships, and of course our loyal customers who were at the heart of our business,” said Cohen.

“It is hard to comprehend. This time last year we were celebrating the centenary of Army & Navy — a company my grandfather started in 1919 — and we were looking forward to the years ahead. Now we are closing a company that was at the heart of eight communities in western Canada over its 101 years.”

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Posted (edited)

In PG we recently saw a long-time retailer close (Northern Hardware).  Those of us that prefer to shop in person are seeing more and more shops closing due to the change to online shopping and big box conglomerates gobbling up market share such that stores like this end up going the way of the dodo.   Sad.

 

https://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local-news/after-100-years-northern-hardware-to-close-its-doors-1.24014198

Edited by thedestroyerofworlds

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Such a shame tbh. A lot of smaller businesses aren't going to make it through this, most won't have a century's worth of history but a number of em will likely have been around for decades. 

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Online retailers and big box stores have put lot of stores out of business.

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The power of online. With that said, I'm going to request for myself work at home hours because if situation has demonstrated anything, it's the power of telecommuting. Long office days should go the way of the dodo bird. 

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1 hour ago, DonLever said:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6925509/coronavirus-army-navy-closing/

 

I used to frequent the store on Hastings Street in the 1960's and the 1970's and into the 1990's so it is a bit sad to see them go.   I have not gone for a long time though.   I always wonder how they manage to stay in business so long after so many changes in the retail landscape.   In recent years the store was mostly empty as people went shopping elsewhere. 

Used to be "safe" to wander around Hastings Streets in the 80s as a non-adult.  

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Very sad to hear this. I used to go here with my Father as a child for clothes and fishing gear. As a young adult I would go here for work clothes. Awesome memories. A real shame. 

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5 minutes ago, Roger Neilsons Towel said:

Very sad to hear this. I used to go here with my Father as a child for clothes and fishing gear. As a young adult I would go here for work clothes. Awesome memories. A real shame. 

heh, I have fond memories of my mom dragging me to one of their infamous shoe sales to help her carry stuff.

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It is getting harder to contend with huge corporate places like Walmart,OR Amazon great prices and treat their workers like slaves,(THIS IS HOW THEIR PRICES ARE SO LOW)

This is the new normal, but after 101 years it's a real shame.

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8 minutes ago, DADDYROCK said:

It is getting harder to contend with huge corporate places like Walmart,OR Amazon great prices and treat their workers like slaves,(THIS IS HOW THEIR PRICES ARE SO LOW)

This is the new normal, but after 101 years it's a real shame.

Power of big volume purchases also lowers their prices.

 

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Used to go to Hastings location for fishing gear.....  staff there were super nice. 

 

Vancouver has changed so much since back in the days.. Pre expo years.....

 

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2 hours ago, kingofsurrey said:

Used to go to Hastings location for fishing gear.....  staff there were super nice. 

 

Vancouver has changed so much since back in the days.. Pre expo years.....

 

Last time I went to the Langley store, the fishing gear selection was dismal.  They practically cut their inventory by half.  The store itself was empty.  Had a feeling something was up.  This was before Covid.

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2 hours ago, kingofsurrey said:

Used to go to Hastings location for fishing gear.....  staff there were super nice. 

 

Vancouver has changed so much since back in the days.. Pre expo years.....

 

No kidding.  I remember as a kid in the late 70's, my parents would drop me off at Hastings and Main and I would walk, carrying my guitar for my lessons, down Hastings through the DTES to Ward music.  I won't do that walk now as an adult.

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6 hours ago, NewbieCanuckFan said:

Used to be "safe" to wander around Hastings Streets in the 80s as a non-adult.  

 

11 minutes ago, coho8888 said:

No kidding.  I remember as a kid in the late 70's, my parents would drop me off at Hastings and Main and I would walk, carrying my guitar for my lessons, down Hastings through the DTES to Ward music.  I won't do that walk now as an adult.

I was a bit too young to venture there by myself, but I do remember just walking in the alley and around that area with my dad and it didn't feel dangerous.  

My dad said back in the days it was still sketchy... but mostly just homeless people just doing their own stuff to scrap by or just drunks just sleeping around.  People just leave each other alone for the most part. 

 

Nowadays.... druggies screaming at your for no reason, punks trying to get into your vehicle to jack stuff, addicts demanding/threatening people for money...

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Lancaster said:

 

I was a bit too young to venture there by myself, but I do remember just walking in the alley and around that area with my dad and it didn't feel dangerous.  

My dad said back in the days it was still sketchy... but mostly just homeless people just doing their own stuff to scrap by or just drunks just sleeping around.  People just leave each other alone for the most part. 

 

Nowadays.... druggies screaming at your for no reason, punks trying to get into your vehicle to jack stuff, addicts demanding/threatening people for money...

Yeah, my memory might be off (as it was a long time ago) but I seem to remember most of the homeless around largely kept to themselves & didn't bother anyone.  This was during the day (no way would my parents let me wander around there at night!).  I lived in the area for a few years early on my life (went to Strathcona elementary school for a couple years).

Edited by NewbieCanuckFan

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22 minutes ago, NewbieCanuckFan said:

Yeah, my memory might be off (as it was a long time ago) but I seem to remember most of the homeless around largely kept to themselves & didn't bother anyone.  This was during the day (no way would my parents let me wander around there at night!).  I lived in the area for a few years early on my life (went to Strathcona elementary school for a couple years).

I also went to strathcona for kindergarten and grade 1 in the late 60's.  Chinatown was much different back then.

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6 minutes ago, coho8888 said:

I also went to strathcona for kindergarten and grade 1 in the late 60's.  Chinatown was much different back then.

I had to look twice to make sure I wasn't seeing things but about six months ago I saw a Timmies right in the heart of Chinatown!  Neighborhood sure went downhill.:P

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2 hours ago, coho8888 said:

Last time I went to the Langley store, the fishing gear selection was dismal.  They practically cut their inventory by half.  The store itself was empty.  Had a feeling something was up.  This was before Covid.

No kidding.    I think Covid will put the finishing touches on quite a few businesses that were on their last legs...

 

I miss the Vancouver of the 80's...   going out to LuvaFair / Railway club....  seeing  so many cool 80's bands at the commodore....

After hours clubs ...   Was that place on robson called Doll and Penny's.....  late night ?    We used to just drink out of paper bags in the warehouse district.... now Yaletown...

Underground clubs....     Cheap rent.....    Used to rent a 6 room house up in South Granville....  u could say we had a few parties...   Vancouver was great then. 

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As a long time resident in this area (I live in the Strathcona neighbourhood since the late 1950's) I seen a lot of changes throughout the years.

 

It is hard to believe but there were no homeless people in the Downtown Eastside in the 1960's.  Sure, there were rough people around the beer parlours in the Main & Hastings area but there were no panhandlers, druggies shooting up on the streets, people living in tents, or selling stuff on the sidewalks.

 

In the 1960's, Hastings was a major retail area, similar to Robson Street.   On Hastings and Abbott, retail business centered around the Woodward Department Store.   On one corner there was a Field Department store, a little further down was Army & Navy.  Across from Army and Navy was Wosks, which was a electronic, appliance, and furniture store.

In between A&N and Fields were a number of family restaurants.   Further up Hastings, walking toward Cambie was the White Lunch, a cafeteria type restaurant.   There were several men's stores like Mr. Goldman and Tiptop Tailors.   There was even an electronic store called the House of Stein.  Next to Woodwards there was a store called Woolworth.  It In the old days, they called Woolworth a five and dime store, I guess equivalent to a dollar store now.  Walk a few more blocks westward and you arrive at Eatons.

 

One of major reason for the decline of the East Hasting Retail business was the shift to shopping in the Georgia/Granville district when Pacific Center was built in the mid-1970's.

It was never the same after Eatons left its location and moved to Pacific Center.

 

As for Chinatown, it was much more vibrant in the 1960's to the 1980's.    There were no boarded up stores like now.  There much variety in stores back then with many fruit and meat shops.   And lot of restaurants - there must be more than a dozen back then.  Well known ones like BC Royale and Hong Kong Café ( was in business from the 1930's to around 1980).  No only that but Chinatown was an entertainment district with night clubs like the Marco Polo,  Mings, and WK Gardens.   The Marco Polo had dancing and feature acts like the Smother Brothers who became big later on.

 

So what happened?   Well, in Chinatown, people, shoppers, residents moved away from that area and moved to other places in the Lower Mainland like Richmond.  Once the Malls in Richmond opened, Chinatown was doomed.

 

As for retail on E. Hastings, competition from the Big Box Stores (which came in the 1980's) like RCSS, Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot killed business.  And people prefer to shop in giant malls like Metrotown, rather than street level business.

 

Finally, the closing of Riverview in the 1990's exacerbated the street scene by releasing people with mental problems into the Downtown Eastside.

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