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Downtown businesses closing
Headgear and Dan's Place prepare to shut down this month

Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Longtime business owners Dan Hayward and Nancy Hayward are closing Headgear clothing store and Dan's Place secondhand store by the end of this month.

nnsl photo

Dan Hayward and Nancy Hayward are closing their 12-year-old Headgear clothing store and their almost-two-year-old Dan's Place secondhand shop this month. - Daron Letts/NNSL photo

Bills are piling up and sales are down since the recession hit a few years back, and online shopping has become too hard to compete with, the couple said.

"The recession hurt Yellowknife worse than it's ever hurt Yellowknife before," Nancy said. "When it hit, it hit us big time."

"When you have $150,000 on your Visa, it's not easy to catch up," Dan added.

The couple ran Headgear for the past 12 years, first in Centre Square Mall and then, for almost the past four years, at the Danarey building, which also houses the Legion. Danarey stands for "Dan and Nancy retirement yes," Dan said.

It was the name of the former catering business they operated in the basement of the approximately 3,550 square-metre building downtown on Franklin Avenue, which they bought when they moved Headgear.

"I think the 'retirement yes' is done," Dan said.

The Business Development Bank of Canada takes over the Danarey building on Friday, he said.

Headgear, which sold youth-oriented clothing and skate-ware, such as baseball caps and contemporary styles of poorboy and pork-pie hats, did healthy business up until a couple of years ago, the couple said.

Five years ago, the business took in about $1 million, Dan said. In 2010, that sum dipped to a little more than $700,000, then $500,000 in 2011, and $400,000 in 2012.

"It went down $600,000 in four years and we had more clothing and better brands," Dan said. "It went down every year. Last year was a disaster. We couldn't get any more supplies because we were starting to fall behind."

Dan began selling secondhand items when he opened Dan's Place in the basement a year and a half ago. Last year, the secondhand wares began spilling upstairs into Headgear.

"Online shopping put an end to Headgear, so I turned to secondhand," he said.

Dan had previously operated a new and used sporting goods store, Sports Traders, for many years and so had experience in the business.

Dan's Place is still packed with appliances, furniture, watches, electronics, art, children's and adult skates, television sets and thousands of DVDs, video games and music CDs, among many other used products.

"I like it," he said. "It's something I've enjoyed."

Dan plans to sell as much of his stock as he can this month. After that, he will find storage to move the rest.

He may revisit the idea of opening a secondhand store in the future, he said. If not, he has journeyman's licences in a few trades and almost two decades of experience as a Yellowknife car salesman to fall back on.

His past Yellowknife businesses, dating back to 1979, have also included a heavy equipment repair shop, a Shell gas station, and several concession stand contracts with the city.

Nancy has been a longtime volunteer at the Legion, helping to pull it from the brink of collapse to where it is today. She plans to continue volunteering for the organization.

Both partners have kept their smiles and cheery dispositions in the last month of their business.

"We're done this time around," Nancy said. "But, we won't be dead."

"We're not done," Dan said. "We'll think of something."

Headgear employed two full-time staff until 2012 and one full-time staff until 2013.

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