The Fields store in downtown Hope will be closing its doors this year after more than two decades in the community.
Twenty-six Ontario locations are being shut down this month, with the remaining 141 stores across the country slated for closure by fall 2012. Tiffany Bourre, Hudson’s Bay Company external communications manager, said the strategic decision by HBC was made to focus on growing its other banners – The Bay, Home Outfitters, and Lord & Taylor.
A specific closure date for Fields in Hope has yet to be determined. However, Bourre said the company will assist the 10 local employees during the transition.
The loss of the department store deals yet another blow to Hope’s struggling downtown economy.
“Fields will definitely be missed. It’s going to be hard to find something to put in its place,” said Mayor Susan Johnston. “We push shop local and yet we have nothing to provide. That’s something we have to seriously look at. If we don’t have anything downtown, it’s going to be just pitiful.”
Hope & District Chamber of Commerce president Glen Ogren acknowledges HBC’s decision is “stinging to our community,” but is more optimistic about the economic future.
“The bright lining is that it is clear the Fields store in Hope is a profitable one, and we are confident that a similar store or stores will quickly fill any void left in our local economy,” he said. “We will continue to advocate Hope’s strengths, and the business success stories that go too often unnoticed when overshadowed by bad news such as the Fields closure.”