November 21, 2017 8:43 pm

2 downtown Lethbridge businesses to close by end of year

WATCH: A pair of downtown Lethbridge businesses are set to close down by the end of the year. Joe Scarpelli explains why.

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Esquires Coffee House and Ten Thousand Villages are set to close their doors by the end of the year in downtown Lethbridge.

After serving the community since 1993, Esquires Coffee House can no longer afford to keep its doors open, according to owner Kathy MacPherson, who took over the franchise in Lethbridge in 2009.

“It’s a very emotional change for me,” MacPherson said. “I’ve loved the whole eight-and-a-half years I’ve been there.”

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MacPherson says due to medical issues, she can’t work a full day and with minimum wage now at $13.60, she can’t afford to hire extra help.

“It’s just impossible for me to continue,” she said.

READ MORE: Alberta’s minimum wage will be $15 an hour by 2018

Instead, she decided to sell the business and hopes someone will buy it as a coffee shop. She says she’s offering her staff of seven to potential new owners. She cannot sell the name due to an agreement with the franchise.

Esquires’ last day of business is set for Dec. 31.

READ MORE: Economists dispute report suggesting Alberta minimum wage hike will cost 25K jobs

Just up the road on 5 Street South, Ten Thousand Villages is also set to close down.

The gift shop, which has 35 locations across Canada, opened in Lethbridge in 2009 and the decision to close was made by head office because of low sales.

“Unfortunately, due to the challenges of the current retail market, we have made the difficult decision to close the Lethbridge Ten Thousand Villages store,” the company said in an email sent to customers.

CEO Holly deGraaf tells Global News the company had tried to save the Lethbridge store with various promotions but there hasn’t been enough traffic to make the store profitable.

However, the company says its shelves are stocked for one last holiday shopping season.

Ten Thousand Villages’ last day of business is Dec 23.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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