End of an era
Clothing retailer Mills Halifax closes down for good
Judith Ryan still remembers the excitement of walking through Mills as a child with her aunt, picking out Christmas presents from the bustling downtown Halifax store.
But that was in the 1950s and 60s, and on Thursday she was on her way to shop at the Spring Garden Road location when she saw the shuttered storefront.
“That’s very disappointing,” said Ryan, who lives in Pictou County but said she makes a point to drop into Mills when in Halifax.
Mills Halifax co-owners Lisa Gallivan and Candace Thomas put out a news release Thursday morning saying the store, which had been on Spring Garden for 96 years, had closed and gone into receivership at the end of business Tuesday.
Peter Wedlake of Grant Thornton was named the receiver and will manage Mills’ responsibilities to its creditors, suppliers and employees. The company’s 20 full- and parttime employees were told they were out of a job Thursday.
The release said Gallivan and Thomas became the sole shareholders of Mills earlier this year, after being part of a group that bought the historic former Mills Brothers department store in 2012.
“Despite our best efforts … it became clear that we would not be able to generate enough business to continue for the long term,” the release said.
Ryan said while she still liked Mills, she remembers negative comments being made about the store when it was broken into two levels, and that it “didn’t have the same kind of atmosphere and feel to it.”
“I have bought a couple things there that fit me, but … the focus on more of the cuttingedge designers probably had something to do with it,” Ryan said.
A Halifax student who preferred not to give her name said she “never shopped there” because the clothes were beautiful but over-priced.
“[It’s] the kind of stuff you walk in to look at and don’t actually purchase,” she said.
Anita, who preferred not to give her last name, walked by Thursday and said Mills had let go of their “target market” that had kept them in business for decades.
“There are very few places for women over 40,” Anita said. “If they had targeted that
audience which was their base, they’d have been much more successful.”
Spring Garden Business Association looking for action after Mills closure
The sudden closure of Mills Halifax this week has the area business association hoping the city will “sit up” and take action to support local stores.
On Thursday, the executive director of the Spring Garden Road Business Association said she was “completely surprised” to hear of Mills Halifax closing for good and going into receivership. She doesn’t know the details of the closure, but said the city has a part to play in creating a better future for the area.
The Mills Halifax storefront on Thursday.