Thursday, July 17, 2014

The End of the Charleswood Department Store

The obituary on July 5 was probably a good sign that the Charleswood Department store was not long for this world either. On Canada Day, Ike Kraut passed away. The Polish immigrant arrived in Canada just before World War II in 1939 and for nearly 60 years ran the Charleswood Department Store near the west entrance of Assiniboine Park. Leaving behind a wife and four children, it appears that the family is preparing to say goodbye not just to their father but to the store itself.

In the windows are signs that say "store closing" and "50% off". It is the end of an era for one the longest serving businesses in the Charleswood area.

It has probably been a lot tougher in recent years to run the store. There is less foot traffic and the parking was more difficult in part due to the closure of the Charleswood Hotel next door which is now a giant Co-Op Gas retailer.

I wrote how old Charleswood was the downtown of the greater neighbourhood. Losing the Charleswood Department Store is a reminder of a gentler, more local way of doing business.

It remains to be seen what will go in the store now. One can hope it will be a business as iconic and long lived as the Charleswood Department Store.

1 comment:

Bill S said...

I was born in Winnipeg a year after Ike Kraut came from Poland. The Charleswood Department store seems to me to have been there forever. But I first visited it after moving to west Portage Ave. three years ago I went in out of frustration with men's shirts that increasingly seem designed to fit stick figures and had no pockets. Ike Kraut assured me he would never stock a shirt with no pockets. I was hooked and was a frequent patron - last purchase in late May. Ike carried a good comprehensive stock of mid priced merchandise which he sold with enthusiasm and professionalism. He's a loss to Charleswood and the whole city - and especially those of us of more mature years.