Sleek, stocked up and ready to have the doors thrown open. Two of Calgary’s newest fashion stores have everything inside – except customers.
“It is getting to the point when it is kind of scary I think for sure for all of us,” says Nathan Newham of Bloke. Newham says he isn’t allowed to let customers into his 1st Street SW store. Because developer Torode hasn’t finished the outside of the Hotel Arts building or the sidewalk the City won’t give stores permission to open.
Boutik on 1st is another store stocked up with no way to sell. “We get different dates. We got April 1st and then we got May 1st and now we have June 1st, and June is right around the corner and nothing is happening out front,” says owner Kim Stern. Stern says she thinks John Torode was trying to do something great for 1st Street – dubbed the future fashion avenue – but work has stopped.
Jay Roberts of Torode says the developer won’t confirm or deny any delays and says any issues will be dealt with on an individual basis with store owners and not through the media. Alderman Mar says he has been in contact with the developer many times over the last three weeks. “We are trying to do our best to work collaboratively with the developer in order to get these businesses up and running. I know that there are a lot of issues ongoing but the City has a responsibility first to ensure the safety of its citizens.”
Currently a “Pathway Closed” sign and a couple of barriers are the only things in the way of people accessing the stores. Stern says she doesn’t see how anyone would get hurt if she were allowed to open her doors.