top of page

FIONA STILL LINGERS FOR SOME BUSINESSES AND THEIR CUSTOMERS

Mr. Tire on Prince St. and Fabricville just up the road on Welton St. both in Sydney were hard hit by Fiona last fall. Fabricville remains closed and Mr. Tire recently reopened after a nine-month closure.


Fabricville’s closure has left the textile crafters of The Third with limited local options to purchase fabric and notions. The crafters are also frustrated and a little bit angry because of the conflicting messages from local Fabricville staff and the company’s corporate statements.


In April, the Sydney Fabricville Facebook page said the store was permanently closing. However, that same month, a Facebook message from the corporate office noted that the company was looking for a new location. The company also made mention of renovations being made to the damaged store on Welton St. while also suggesting that the company might not reopen the store.


On April 25, Fabricville customer service spokeswoman Ashley Lawson told Saltwire that “(Fabricville) is looking for a different location to be able to open up a new store. We don't know when that is, unfortunately. So, for now, the only thing that I can say is that we are looking at different locations to be able to reopen and it is not something that we have officially decided that we are closing our location in Sydney.”


Months later the loyal customers of Fabricville are still waiting for answers. Fabricville has been silent despite the inquiries made by local crafters. The last post The Third could find was from August 11, just three weeks ago.


Mr. Tire closure ‘heartbreaking”


After being closed for nine months, the management and staff of Mr. Tire wish that they had a monopoly on tires the way Fabricville had on fabric. Mr. Tire is one of many tire repair shops in The Third.


The roof of Mr. Tire sustained a lot of damage and the building had significant water damage. Some areas of the roof were torn off by Fiona leaving the interior exposed to the rain.



“It was heartbreaking,” says Glenn Faulconer, the second-generation owner of the shop when talking about the closure. “I had to open the shop so that my customers could come to get their tires and take them to another shop. I had to let business out the door.”


Being in the tire business all his life, Faulconer knew that his customers had no choice, the roads and our seasons dictate tire changes and repair jobs. But that doesn’t mean that the sting was any less, and he knew as the tires were leaving his shop some might not return when the shop opens.


“I told all my customers as they were taking their tires that I hoped that they would be back when repairs were completed.”


Fast forward to today and the shop is open – with less accounts and almost a year of business to make up. Faulconer’s fear was correct. The bays are not as busy as they before Fiona and most of the tires that left his shop during the closure have not returned.


“I had a few back,” he says of the tires.



During most of the closure, Faulconer continued to pay his five employees.


“I felt it was the right thing to do for them,” he said. "It wasn’t their fault; they still had bills to pay.”


Only two of the five returned when the shop opened. An all-too-familiar experience for business owners of the Third.


Mike Kennedy is one of the two who returned to work when Mr. Tire reopened. He is grateful that he was paid during the closure. Although he admits that he did get bored after months of reading and playing guitar and looked forward to returning to work.


Chris Donovan has worked at Mr. Tire for eight years. Like Kennedy, he says it was good to the wage during the closure. But both admit that toward the end of the closure, which was much longer than they thought it would be, things got tough for them. Kennedy started spending less and got rid of his internet to make ends meet. Donovan had to dig into his savings to cover his bills.


When asked what they think the upcoming tire season will be like for Mr. Tire, Kennedy says he hopes it will be busy. “You don’t need an appointment, come by and we will take care of you.”


Unfortunately, the loyal textile crafters of Fabricville are still waiting to know if they will ever be able to come by the local Fabricville and be taken care of.


Others are already asking people to open a textile store to fill the gap left by Fabricville.


The Third reached out to both Fabricville head office and ChoiceReit, the property developer of the former Fabricville location. Neither responded.




22 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page