Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2014/ Goodbye, Bargain Shop

Goodbye, Bargain Shop

So the Bargain Shop at King and Benton is closing down. They announced this towards the end of November. As they clear out inventory, their "Store Closing!" discounts have been getting deeper and deeper.

Vulture that I am, I have been swooping in to take advantage of their deals. One day I found ice cream bars were 75% off, so I bought three (which wasn't too smart, as the bathroom scale informed me the next day). I have also been stocking up on canned goods and sweets, because I am worried about where I am going to buy these things once the store closes. Honestly, I would gladly forsake cheap ice cream for an operational Bargain Shop. I am not proud of my sweet tooth, but I know myself well enough to understand how difficult I become without junk food (which is yet another reason diabetes will be a death sentence). It's not as if I can stock up on junk food either; everything I buy mysteriously disappears within days.

Losing the Bargain Shop is going to be a blow, but it emphasises a principle I attempted to demonstrate in my grocery store entry: downtown Kitchener has a resilient grocery ecosystem. There are other food stores downtown. To a large degree, I will be able to compensate for the loss of the Bargain shop by shopping more at New City Supermarket, Full Circle Foods or even Shopper's Drug Mart. I doubt I would be able to make that claim if there was a single large grocery store downtown.

I am surprised the Bargain Shop is closing. A paper taped to their checkout desk indicates that there was a dispute with the landlord.  I do not know whether this means they were losing money. It seemed as if they were doing okay, but I have little understanding of what it takes to keep a retail store afloat.

I don't know that the Bargain Shop is a great store, but it is a useful store. It fills a useful niche in my life, and I feel it filled a useful niche for the community as well. I have heard it described as "downmarket", which is probably true, but I personally have little inclination (and little budget) to patronize upmarket shops.

I do wonder how much of this shutdown has to do with the increasing gentrification downtown. There are a lot of condos going up around town, and lots of startups taking advantage of relatively cheap office rates. It could be the case that the Bargain Shop has been priced out of the market, which does not bode well for me being able to afford life in downtown Kitchener much longer.