Fredericton — This summer has brought about a string of store closures in the downtown Fredericton area, including the Owl’s Nest book store, Read’s Newsstand, Damda Restaurant and Second Spin Records. Just this week, it was announced that three more local businesses would be biting the dust.
“The advent of cheap, easily accessible technology has really done a number on specialty shops like mine,” said Barney Addington, the 63-year-old wheelwright forced to close his business earlier this week. “Starting, of course, with that blasted automobile!”
Addington lamented the closures in the town that now also include the local cobbler and scrivener, and expressed his fear that the trend would continue.
“I mean, what’s next? Mister Music? Strange Adventures? The local Opium Den? It seems like no business is safe these days.”
The lack of interest is blamed, in part, on the area’s complete focus on outdated commodities that don’t appeal to the city’s regularly rotating population of college-aged young adults.
“There’s a downtown Fredericton?” said first-year UNB student Patrica Lean when asked to name her favourite local store.
Despite the recent economic drought, Addington says he isn’t ready to give up on Fredericton just yet.
“I’m trying to rally the owners of all the recently closed businesses to come join me in my new venture,” he said. “We need to realize that the days of the small specialty shop is over.”
Addington outlined his plans to demolish a large section of Queen Street and build a single outlet location that can house a greater quality of product at a cheaper rate, following the popular model of Costco, IKEA and Walmart.
And what kind of business does he plan to put in this spot?
“I dunno,” he said pensively. “I’m thinking maybe a Blockbuster?”