On March 1, 1939, Bricker’s Shoes opened in downtown Saskatoon.
“I remember celebrating our 50th and I had just started with the store,” owner Dan Cote said. “I told my dad when we celebrate 80, I’ll be the one doing it this time,” he laughed.
Bricker’s has been part of Cote’s life for more than 30 years.
His father worked for original owner Ernie Bricker in the 1960s and he eventually bought the store in 1975.
Cote took over ownership about a decade ago after his dad retired.
“There’s customers I’ve grown up with and they’ve grown up with me,” Cote said.
“Customers have turned into friends.”
Staff credit the store’s products and loyal following as the source of its longevity.
“We’ve got a huge clientele not only in Saskatoon, but right across Canada and even lots from the states that come up,” long-time employee Arlene Kolbinson said. She’s worked for the Cote family for close to 25 years.
“It’s like working with family and friends all together every day.”
Naturally, a lot has changed since 1939. Cote recalled talking to some customers about the evolution of prices.
“They used to buy shoes here and it was like $10 – I said that was a lot of money. She goes ‘you’re darn rights it was a lot of money – it was half a day’s wages,'” he laughed.
The anniversary is a milestone the Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement District feels is a testament to the success of the city’s core.
“New businesses commonly don’t last longer than five years,” marketing director Sarah Marchildon said. “We’re thrilled to celebrate 80 years with them.”
“We wouldn’t be here if all of those successful businesses were not upstanding and holding us up,” she added.
As for Cote, he hopes the legacy of the store lives on.
“I’m pretty proud of it,” he said.