Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Anna Paquin is held by her father Gilles Paquin, who said he is sad to see the Saan Store close. The store closed on March 13. It's not known when or if it will re-open. - Stephan Burnett/NNSL photo

Saan's doors now closed

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 23/05) - Yellowknife's Saan store is closed, but even though the employees are off the payroll they hope the chain's new owners will re-open the outlet.

Store manager Mary Chipman said the store closed at 3:30 p.m. on March 13.

When asked if the store's 17 employees were being treated well and paid for severance, Chipman said, "I can't give you that information right now because we haven't received our final pay as yet. That is supposed to be coming on Friday."

On Jan. 6, the company went into bankruptcy protection. The chain has lost $47 million over the last six years, said company spokesman Greg Crombie.

The company had 223 stores and plans to keep between 125 and 150 locations after a store-by-store analysis is done.

At the beginning of February Crombie said the chain's Northern locations were performing well and probably would not close.

But on Sunday, when Anna Clark dropped by the store all she could do was look through the windows. "I'm sorry to see it going. I did shop here and there were some good bargains. They gave Wal-Mart some competition," said Clark.

Other passersby, Gilles Paquin and his daughter Anna, stopped at the Saan store's front door as well.

"I didn't do much shopping here," admitted Paquin,

"But I'm still sorry to see it go."

Chipman confirmed the Yellowknife Saan had lost money over the last year - to what degree, she wouldn't say - however, the staff was shocked the store closed.

"We're still hoping the store will re-open under the new owners, 90 per cent of the staff is not going to look for work for a couple weeks to see what is going to happen," she said.

Chipman has worked in retail for 20 years. The closing of the store was an extremely tough pill to swallow, she said.

"It's devastating. When the staff was saying goodbye it was the hardest thing I've ever gone through," she said.

"The computers and cash registers are still in the store, it's just the merchandise that's gone. Until I get the call, I'm still hopeful."