Capital Iron in Sidney will close its doors for the last time on Jan. 18, with the store’s lease expiring at the end of the month. (Black Press Media File)

Capital Iron owner says decision to close Sidney store is not a verdict against community

Mike Black says Sidney remains the region’s retail hub as he continues to look for suitable locations

The owner of a company closing its Sidney location after more than three decades this month says he will continue to look for retail space in Sidney, but it might be a while until it returns to the region.

“Is it [a return to Sidney] going to happen in the next three to four months?” asked Mike Black, owner of Capital Iron, a local retail chain. “No, that would not be realistic. But if the right opportunity comes along, I would certainly look at it. But as of today, there is nothing there that is being built or available that would work for us.”

Black made those comments as the company prepares to close its Sidney location with Jan. 18 being the last day of sales.

When asked about the closure, Black said it should not be read as a verdict against the municipality as a retail environment.

“I think Sidney is still the hub [for the Saanich Peninsula],” he said. “I haven’t looked at Keating Cross Road.” Available research shows Sidney is a good market, he added later. “I can’t comment on how successful Home Hardware, Canadian Tire and Slegg are, but they seem to be chugging along.” As for smaller businesses, some open, and some close, like anything else, he added.

RELATED: Sidney Capital Iron closes its doors in January

RELATED: Booming outdoor sales spur space issue for Capital Iron in Sidney

Denny Warner, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, sounded a similar note. “I would say that the community is in transformation,” she said, pointing to the arrival of The Farmer’s Daughter, a cheese shop and wine bar operating on Beacon Avenue, as evidence of its attractiveness. Other recent arrivals on Sidney’s Beacon Avenue include Anytime Fitness, occupying a former convenience store, and a new gallery for photographers.

This said, she is also aware of proposals, who are holding back because of the lack of attractive retail space.

(By way of background, Sidney and the owners of Happy Buddha Cannabis find themselves in court after the municipality denied their application for what would be Sidney’s first cannabis retail store. Proponents of the store on council as well as the community-at-large have argued that it promises to revitalize Beacon Avenue. However, not everybody has accepted the premise that Beacon Avenue requires revitalization).

RELATED: Personal health scare inspires Sidney’s newest gym

RELATED: New photo gallery snaps into Sidney with a peak

RELATED: Hopeful Sidney pot shop owner challenges town in court after application denied

Ultimately, Black said Sidney’s Capital Iron is closing because the current store lacks outdoor space for items that are selling well in the company’s Langford and downtown Victoria locations, including barbecues, patio furniture and hot tubs among others.

“We need outdoor space for that, and we just don’t have any there,” he said.

It was not always this way. For several years, the Sidney location had successfully operated a seasonal store just off Beacon Avenue by renting space from a local garden nursery, space that has since disappeared when Home Hardware took over the location, said Black.

“Then we tried another place, then we tried another place, and the sales in those areas just weren’t working,” said Black. “So that was impacting that side of the business, and as I said, it is a big part of our business in Langford and in downtown [Victoria].”

Accordingly, the company chose not renew its lease at its current location. “We are still going to keep our nose out there, looking [for space] in Sidney, but we don’t think it is the right time to sign another lease in that spot.”

Black said Capital Iron is leaving its current location after more than 20 years. It had first operated out of a location on Bevan Avenue in 1988.

That was also the year when Black, a former naval officer, joined the company after his military service in the Canadian navy. His first job with the company took him — you guessed it — to Sidney. While Black only worked in that location for a couple of months to learn the retail business from the ground up, the pending closure goes beyond the bottom line.

“It was a tough decision for me,” he said. “It was not a choice that I made easily. But at the end of the day, you have to do what you think is right.”

Black said all staff at the Sidney location — anywhere between 10 and 12 individuals — received job offers at the other locations. “Two people have taken that,”he said. “Some people decided that they rather try to look for work closer to home.”

With the Sidney store closing and the spring season on the horizon, the company’s focus will shift to its two remaining locations, said Black.

This said, Black travels to Sidney on a semi-regular basis and remains in touch with leasing agents. In other words, a return is not out of the question, assuming the right location come along.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Most Read