© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Melissa Robinson, who co-owns the Sears location in Summerside with her husband Mark, stands at the customer service desk inside the half-empty store. The store, due to a decision by Sears Canada, will be closing its doors for good on Jan. 2, leaving 10 people out of work.
Telling her employees that they soon would be out of work is one of the hardest things Melissa Robinson has ever had to do.
Robinson and husband, Mark, own the Sears store in Summerside.
Recently, the couple was told by Sears Canada’s corporate office that it was closing, early in the new year, the store they’ve owned and operated since 2009, putting 10 people out of work.
“We are really a family here. It is very hard at Christmas,” said Robinson, choking back tears. “To have to tell your employees that we don’t have employment for them at Christmastime is one of the worst things we could ever imagine.”
It was a devastating blow, a decision, Robinson was quick to point out, wasn’t that of the couple, and one, she added, that came as a shock.
“They are choosing not to be in Summerside at this point.”
The store, located at 645 Water St., includes a furniture and appliance showroom and a catalogue outlet.
The location services those from Hunter River all the way to the western tip of P.E.I.
“Our customers are what we are going to miss the most,” said Robinson. “We have a very loyal customer base that we appreciated over the last six years. They have supported a young couple and a family business that we have been growing. They have been very good to us and they will definitely be missed.
“We hope we can find a way to service them in the future, in some way or capacity.”
She wouldn’t say exactly when she and her husband found out news of the closure.
“It was definitely rather short notice,” added Robinson. “I am not at liberty to discuss the dates. We gave the staff notice as soon as we had confirmation of firm dates of when it was going to happen.”
She referred that question and others specifically related to the closure of the store to Vincent Power, vice-president of corporation communications with Sears Canada.
Calls made to Power on Tuesday have not yet been returned.
For now, and until Jan. 2, it will be business as usual, said Robinson.
Customers can still pick up and return parcels at the Summerside location.
There is also a liquidation sale of all stock in the store.
“Sears’ plan is to sell everything off. All the furniture is being sold at cost and any of the other departments the items are being sold at bottom-dollar prices,” said Robinson.
She added that any customers with questions should feel free to call the store.
“Our thoughts go out to customers that are going to have holiday returns and will have to travel to Charlottetown to do that.”