Saskatoon travel accessory shop closing its doors after 4 decades in business

Click to play video: 'Local ‘Shoppe’ closing its doors after 43 years of business due to COVID-19'
Local ‘Shoppe’ closing its doors after 43 years of business due to COVID-19
WATCH: After four decades in business in Saskatoon, The Awl Shoppe is closing its doors on Aug. 28 – Aug 9, 2020

The Awl Shoppe is closing its doors for good at the end of August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in the City Park neighbourhood on 2nd Avenue, it’s one of a handful of shop locations to open over the years in Saskatoon and Regina.

It has been around since 1977 when it first opened on 33rd Street.

Store manager Alyssa Byrns said there were three key factors in the difficult decision to pull the curtain on the shop.

“We just can’t survive with so much retail being bought online,” Bryns said. “So its a mix of COVID-19 and online shopping.”

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She said after being closed for three months when the pandemic started, the number of drop-ins at the business has dropped by over half.

Byrns said since the start of the month, however, business has really picked up as people are coming in to get shoes fixed or to purchase an item or two as everything is on sale from 10 to 50 per cent on most products.

The store is known for doing shoe repairs in addition to selling durable items such as briefcases, belts, wallets and luggage holders for travelling.

Patrick Thomson, who has been coming to the shop for 15 years, says he will have to find a new place to fix his briefcase zippers.

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“A briefcase, a couple of briefcases actually,” Thomson said. “Different pieces of luggage. I don’t think there is anywhere else I could have taken them. They would be in the garbage if it wasn’t for the shop.”

Similar to Thomson, Kathrina Mazurik has also been coming to shop for 15 years. She believes it’s the business model the store has kept attracting people to it.

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“The store is based on that old business model where when you buy something, it lasts a really long time,” Mazurik said.

Mazurik said sure places exist in the city that has great customer service, but the Awl Shoppe was special.

“How many places do you go to where someone walks you through the pros and cons and guides you through the different products and the process of buying something,” Mazurik said.

For store sewer Cristina Maquinay, the shop will be dearly missed and she hopes that it could return in the future. Maquinay has been a sewer for 45 years, with 11 of them at the Awl Shoppe. She said it’s the best place she has worked at.

“I hope this shop comes back someday,” said Maquinay. “This is the best shop that we have especially for me. I love them. I love the people.”

Click to play video: 'Small business advocate calls for more support during reopening'
Small business advocate calls for more support during reopening

Byrns said when travel restrictions are lifted and the travel industry goes back to normal they may look at opening another store.

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“We are keeping all of the original equipment,” Byrns said.

Byrns said for the remaining two weeks, they are only doing shoe heel repairs. The shop closes its doors on Aug. 28. They are open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.


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