VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Army & Navy is closing down after 101 years of activity, due to COVID-19.
Owner Jacqui Cohen confirmed the news in a statement, writing that the whole situation is difficult to understand.
“Around the same time last year, we were celebrating the centenary of the military and the navy – a business created by my grandfather in 1919 – and we looked forward to the years to come,” writes Cohen. “Now we are closing a business that was at the heart of eight communities in Western Canada during its 101 years.”
In March, the company was forced to temporarily lay off staff and close the five stores due to the virus.
“We had hoped to reopen but the economic challenges of COVID-19 have turned out to be insurmountable,” the statement said.
“The economic impact of this global pandemic exceeds anything we have known. I am proud of the history of the military and the navy and our contribution to the Canadian landscape. “
Ryan Bruce speaks on behalf of CLAC Local 501, which represents 83 workers at the Vancouver and New Westminster locations.
He said it was already a difficult time for army and navy workers, who had been temporarily laid off in March.
“So getting news that the company declares bankruptcy in addition to not having a job for a period of time is undoubtedly a stressful situation for our members. “
He says that for many people, working for the company was more than just work.
“It’s a close-knit group and I really feel for them as a community,” he says. “Beyond work and paycheck, I think a lot of people have felt a sense of community that they may not have in other parts of their lives. “
He says the union is working to ensure that those who lose their jobs receive fair severance pay, and notes that the company has been proactive in these discussions.
The Army and Navy opened their first store on Hastings Street in Vancouver in 1919, eventually expanding to New Westminster, Langley, as well as Calgary and Edmonton.