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HomeIn Photos: Kingston businesses that closed amid pandemic

In Photos: Kingston businesses that closed amid pandemic

Last Updated on October 23, 2020 by YGK News Staff

Since July 17th, Ontario has been in Phase 3 of the province’s phased reopening, which is part of its efforts to “take coordinated, swift, and decisive action to protect and support the health and well-being of people across the province.” according to their website.

Phase 3 is designed to encourage long-term economic recovery while maintaining several public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Despite this, some businesses found government programs to be insufficient or ineffective to maintain their business until this point.

Other businesses, such as Vandervoorts General Store, have closed during this period but had already planned to do so previously due to heavy leasing costs.

Le Chateau

Kingston’s Le Chateau will be closing as a result of the companies efforts to close its business and liquidate its assets. On October 23rd, Retailer Le Château announced that it would be going out of business and is requesting creditor protection as it winds down store operations. The chain is placing blame on the pandemic as the reason why its sales have plummeted.

“[We’ve] come to the very difficult decision that the company can no longer continue its operations as a going concern after having used its best efforts over the preceding months, with the assistance of professional advisers, to refinance or sell the company to a third party that would continue operating the business,” the Montreal based chain said in a press release.

Additionally, the chain acknowledged that there will be a “evident impact on consumer demand for Le Château’s holiday party and occasion wear.” Given the change in demand for its products, the company no longer feels that they can continue to pursue their operations.

Le Chateau has been in business for 60 years. It has 123 stores accross canada, 500 head office employees, and 1,400 retail employees.

The Alibi

For the past four years, the Alibi’s success was steadily rising. Their revenues were up over 18% over the last two years. Despite this, the business struggled with legacy debt, according to Bruce Davis, owner of the Alibi. March and April were also Davis’s best months, providing good weather and seating space for groups. This would prove to be difficult for Davis to sustain.

Davis looked into receiving CEBA the $40,000 emergency loan. He found the fine print to be restrictive and would only lead to more debt in the future. He also did not find much luck in applying for the commercial rent relief program and his landlord subsequently changed the lock in April. Davis was then personally liable for the rent owed.

Davis was grateful that he terminated his lease in January and moved to a month to month lease. On May 17th, Davis made the announcement official in a bittersweet blog post.

Vandervoorts General Store

On June 9th, we first broke that Vandervoorts General store closed after 70 years of operation. The store had been a hardware store that also sold assorted goods such as linen. While we first found this out during phase one openings, the closing wasn’t due to the pandemic.

In an interview with the Whig-Standard, Bob Dalton explained that operating the three-floor establishment was expensive and that the business had not been profitable for the past 10 years. This was partly due to its given tax valuation.

The Common Market

The Common Market was a fixture on Ontario street for the past ten years. They were well known for their coffee and baked goods. On June 30th, the Common Market announced that they would be closing their doors.

In a statement on their Facebook Page, owner Louise Stalker said that they “unfortunately, couldn’t make it through these trying times.” Stalker thanked Kingstonians for their support and will miss seeing her customers.

Local Chains

Some businesses were able to continue their operations but shrunk in size to cut down on operating expenses. IService, an independent Apple repair shop was one of these cases. The business closed their Johnson St. location and consolidated their operations to 349 Alfred St.

Chumleigh’s had also announced that they were closing their uptown location on  2559 Princess Street. On their business page, they stated “unfortunately we have had to close down our uptown location permanently.”

Chumleigh’s is described as “Kingston’s one-stop-shop for DVDs, Video Games, CDs, Books, and even VHS.” As of July 28th, they are looking to reopen a location uptown between Gardiner’s Road and Progress. The business is excited to have enough space to have “DVDs, Video Games, CDs, Books, VHS, Vinyl and Cassettes.”

David’s Tea

In July, the Canadian based David’s Tea chain announced a significant restructuring amid filing for bankruptcy under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Leading up to the announcement, the chain announced that is had closed 200 chain locations in Canada and the USA.

The company had also warned its shareholders that it had not paid rent on any of its store locations in the past three months. In their July statement, the chain announced that the majority of their operations would move online.

Since then, they have announced that 18 David’s Tea locations will remain open. Before the announcement, David’s Tea had 184 remaining locations. They plan to maintain select outlets in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Toronto. They currently have no plans to reopen their Kingston location.

The Gap

Modo Yoga Kingston

On September 22nd, Modo Yoga announced that it would no longer be in business as of September 30th, 2020. The announcement was made via a heartfelt post on their Facebook Page. Both their main and west end locations are now closed.

“I am so sorry and heartbroken for our collective loss. I know that this is happening so quickly, and I wish it didn’t have to. We have exhausted all of our options over the last several months and it is impossible for us to operate during this pandemic. We’ve shared almost 6 years of building community and sweating it out on our mats together!”


Support Local

Several local movements have begun that encourages Kingstonians to support businesses. One of these movements includes kingstondelivers.com. They state that “By opening your wallets to local Kingston businesses, you will be the ones to decide which businesses will thrive and which will take a new adventure path.”


  1. So sad to hear Alibi is closing Not to mention Common Market. I had so many first dates at that bar… I even fell in love there. Bless these business owners for creating such special places to live in and share with others. I will miss them so dearly.

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