September 21, 2018 7:44 pm
Updated: September 21, 2018 7:50 pm

Popular children’s play-and-learning centres closing: Calgary parents devastated

WATCH: Two popular children's play and learn centres are closing in Calgary. Globa's Tomasia DaSilva tells us what's lead to the closures and why parents are so devastated.

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Calgary’s only Gymboree Play & Music centres are set to close on Sept. 29, after 30 years in business.

The two locations are in the communities of Hawkwood in the northwest and Midnapore in the southeast.

“We’re devastated, to say the least,” mom Nelle Derry said.

“It has been kind of a saviour for me. It’s just a community, a place where parents come together and our kids have all learned so much.”

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Chris Yeung bought both of the locations from another owner two-and-a-half years ago.

He says Calgary’s economic downturn has often forced both parents to get a job. Both parents working means attendance has been dwindling and with revenue going down and costs going up, he says he had no choice but to shut down.

“You put in a lot of time, you put in a lot of effort, as an entrepreneur. You’re always very optimistic but some things are out of your control,” Yeung said.

“You don’t want to blame anybody and I’m not here to blame anybody. This is on us. We tried our best and unfortunately, it was just too much.”

Gymboree Play & Music has centres around the world, with most locations individually owned.

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Yeung has reached out to the parent company to see if the Calgary locations could be taken over, but so far there’s no word of any buyer.

A total of 14 employees work at the Calgary locations.

Yeung says the focus now is to make sure those employees get paid and enrolled parents receive refunds.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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