Plans to permanently close the Archambault music store on Berri and St. Catherine streets came as a shock to long-time clients.
“Well, it’s sad,” stated client Meghan Kerr outside the store. “I mean it’s been around for a really long time. It’s always been here.”
It’s been a staple since the 1930s and the owners, Groupe Archambault, say the store will remain open until June.
In a press release, issued to announce the plans, the company blames construction in the area over the years for what they say has resulted in a loss of business.
“The vast construction sites that are multiplying in the sector have major impacts that must be taken into account when assessing the future of a storefront retail business,” the release reads.
According to Domenic Béland of the Union of Professional and Office Employees (SEPB), around 30 employees will lose their jobs due to the closure, some of whom have been with the company for decades.
“The oldest guy who’s working there has been there since 1972,” he told Global News. “Some of us have here from the ’90s and the low 2000s.”
Béland observed that the closure will not just be a huge blow to workers, but a big loss for the city.
“Closing a place like this means a lot,” he pointed out. “It’s part of our culture that closes down, it’s a big part of Montreal and a lot of people know Archambault Berri.”
Some shoppers lamented the closure of yet another Montreal business, which some blame on construction.
“It’s one less thing you can do downtown, which is a pity,” noted client Daniel Gwyn, who said he buys CDs there twice weekly.
Read more: Downtown Montreal drowning in sea of construction projects, up to 94% of streets closed in a year
For Kerr, “it’s sad to see the changing landscape,” she said. “They’ll probably turn this into another condo building, which sucks.”
A recent study by Montreal’s Chamber of Commerce says there are too many unco-ordinated construction projects, including roadwork, in the downtown core.
In a statement, Robert Beaudry, the Montreal city councillor responsible for urban planning, also expressed surprise to the closing of Berri Archambault and acknowledges that the area around the store is undergoing transformation.
“We know that there are challenges because of the STM’s work site and the mixed use of the area,” he wrote.
“This is why we work on having a better presence on the ground to respond to the concerns of residents, merchants and also to intervene with vulnerable people with the help of our EMMIS team and the mobility squad.”
Despite the closure, one thing might remain.
Groupe Archambault says they will ask for the sign, currently owned by Quebecor, which owns the building, to not be taken down because of its heritage value.