Last December, a friend told me Talbot's would be closing all of its stores. Turned out to be a rumour, but I worried.
When a pair of dependable work pants suddenly shows a shiny seat, where can I get a quick replacement? I ordered three pairs of pants online, but none fit. That's a familiar gripe: no standard cut, unlike like the revered Banana Republic Jackson-fit pants. I returned to merely tolerating Talbots. Close, for all I care.
A recent article in the New York Times reported Saks had a 20% drop in business over the holiday season, and noted desperately, "and this is when consumers had to buy somebody something." More closings, of both independent retailers and chains, are forecast for early 2009.
I began to think, "What stores in my city could I not live without?"
1. Alexia von Beck and Clothes, by Muriel Dombret
Two small, independent designers who make practically every item they sell. (Clothes is in Ottawa, but with trunk shows here).
2. Ron White Shoes
I like to try on shoes and not bother with mailing back what doesn't work, and they carry the brands I wear.
Two. That's it.
Otherwise, I can get things online or while traveling. Trekking to a store is less appealing with every passing year. I'd rather pay postage to return a jacket from an online vendor than fight traffic, pay for parking, and return home exhausted.
Occasionally a spin through a high-end department store rekindles the avid joy of my teen years, but mostly it's an endurance contest. Better to try a dress at home with decent lighting, your own accessories, and no sales pressure.
What stores in your town would you absolutely miss, if they closed?
Photo: Popsy Johnstone wearing an Alexia von Beck coat, retrieved from The National Post; photo by Peter J. Thompson