WINNIPEG – The family-run Charleswood Department Store has been a neighbourhood staple for 58 years but on Sunday it closed.
“We said we have to go there for the last day,” said 30-year customer Gloria Olson.
Ike Kraut spent his life running the store he opened in 1956 until he passed away from a sudden heart attack two months ago at the age of 81.
Now everything in the store must go while the family follows Ike’s wishes — he planned to close the store when he retired.
“It’s hard the last day. He had a lot of loving customers that were very loyal to him,” said Ike’s daughter-in-law, Harriet Kraut.
MaryAnn Kurtz has been shopping at the store for 45 years and remembers Ike well.
“Very nice, very nice, and all the ladies liked him — he looked after them well,” said Kurtz.
“He was always friendly and knew what you wanted. He’d say, ‘I’ve got just what you want,’ and he’d go and pick something up and he was right,” said Olson.
Along with being a friendly man, customers remember his kindness fondly too.
“My sister-in-law shopped here for years and she became incapable of coming out, and he’d let me take all the stuff to her place and let her see it all and then he said just come back with whatever,” said Olson.
“Going to a store that you know you can rely on that man coming to the door and saying, ‘Have a nice day. How are you?’ and keying into what you want, you really don’t find that around anymore. So for that I’m kind of sad because it’s that sort of an era of old-school service,” said Kraut.
Service that will be hard to beat.
“It would be nice if another clothing store came up this way, it would be really nice, because it’s a place that if you’re in the village, you just automatically stop here,” said Kurtz.
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