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Shoppers share hopes for Zellers site 0

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

Area residents Tammra Willcocks and son, Aiden, are among regular Zellers customers. "It's nice to have variety  in town," she said about its loss, while her son said he will definitely miss it.

Area residents Tammra Willcocks and son, Aiden, are among regular Zellers customers. "It's nice to have variety in town," she said about its loss, while her son said he will definitely miss it.

COBOURG - 

Zellers has been a fixture in Cobourg since 1968.

That era comes to an end March 30 with its closure and local shoppers have all kinds of things to say about the area's future without this long-time department store.

Northumberland Mall property manager Paul Kidumae told Northumberland Today the mall holds the lease to the 125,000-square foot Zellers space and that there are six to eight potential lessees with whom negotiations are underway for stores ranging in size from 15,000 to 60,000 square feet. None is a grocery store, he said.

"We've had a lot of interest in the space…. We're finalizing a lot of deals for the location," Kidumae said, declining to announce details until things are completely in place.

"The sooner I can communicate something, the better for me," he added.

There is a lot of interest from customers, too, Kidumae said.

U.S.-based Target chose not to take over the Zellers lease (see related story), something that Cobourg's Pat Wenzell would have liked to have seen since it is taking over other Zellers locations throughout Canada. While pushing a cart through the sale-sign-studded aisles in Zellers Monday, Wenzell said she wants some other kind of department store to immediately fill the space on the east end of the mall.

"I'd like a Costco," Wenzell’s daughter, Kim Ojo, quickly said, before checking out the sales in women's wear.

Other people in and around the store on Monday expressed concern about Cobourg only having one department store in the future, once Zellers closes.

A longtime store employee said she is concerned that the store's closure, leaving only Wal-Mart, means "no competition" and this will be harmful to the community.

"I think it's nice to have a little bit of variety in town," area resident Tammra Willcocks said about the loss of the department store.

Kids, especially, like to go the store, she added. Her son Adrien said that he was really going to miss Zellers when it was gone, just before he bolted through the entrance doors.

Grafton resident Sky Miezlaiskis agreed that at least "for a while" Zellers would be missed.

Kirsten Allen of Cobourg said she couldn't remember a time when Zellers was not in Cobourg, and that it will be "weird" without it.

valerie.macdonald@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/NT_vmacdonald

 

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