Target’s time in Cranbrook is officially over.
The department store closed it’s doors on Sunday after the U.S.-based company announced the closure of all Canadian locations back in January.
The company had been in operation for less than two years after expanding across the U.S.-Canada border in 2013.
While rumoured that Canadian operations were not doing well, the decision to pull out of Canada earlier this year came as a shock, according to one local Target employee, who requested anonymity because her fellow co-workers are currently looking for new employment.
“We were like, ‘What? No way?’ because our store was doing really good,” she said. “We didn’t really think about it too much, but then we found out the same morning that everyone else did, too.”
The employee, who had been with Target for a while, said some of her fellow employees have been able to find jobs, while others still have a few weeks of pay remaining as part of Target’s compensation package.
The store employed roughly 200 people and it will be tough to move on from what she called the best job she’s had.
“Everyone was like a family, we were a big family,” she said. “They treated us so well and it’s just going to be irreplaceable.”
The impact of Target’s closure won’t have too much of a long term affect on local economy, according to David D. Hull, the executive director of the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce.
“That business will certainly be distributed so other local retailers will certainly see some positive effect from one less competitor in town,” said Hull.
However, he acknowledges that it’s always tough to see the employees lose their jobs, no matter the circumstances.
“That’s just the stressing part as far as a small town, is probably about a 100 full-time equivalent, 200 people in total employees there are working right to the end and as of the next few days and are cleaning up, they need a job,” Hull said.
Target had 133 locations across Canada and employed 17,600 people. The company expects to report approximately $275 million in pre-tax losses on discontinued operations in Canada for the fiscal 2015 year.
“The Target Canada team has worked tirelessly to improve the fundamentals, fix operations and build a deeper relationship with our guests. We hoped that these efforts in Canada would lead to a successful holiday season, but we did not see the required step-change in our holiday performance,” said Brian Cornell, Target Corporation Chairman and CEO, when the announcement was made in January. “There is no doubt that the next several weeks will be difficult, but we will make every effort to handle our exit in an appropriate and orderly way.”