Development causes iconic jeanery to change ‘zip’ code
Over the Rainbow will move to the Manulife Centre after 42 years in Yorkville
Joel Carman isn’t your average shopkeep. Over the past 42 years, since he first opened Over the Rainbow in 1975, he has been on the floor, building friendships with the customers of Yorkville. Now, with a new development proposed by First Capital Realty for the store’s site at 101 Yorkville Ave., Carman has made plans to relocate his family-run business to the Manulife Centre, with a window on Balmuto Street. The new store is slated for completion in late 2018.
Were you offered space in the new development?
No. I think First Capital is going to go after very high-end retailers, like the Chanels of this world and the Jimmy Choos. I think that’s the future of Yorkville.… I think it’s endemic of what’s happening in the city.… People are paying so much money for property that they have to get big rents. I think it’s very difficult for an independent today to survive in this environment.… It’s almost scary because the independents are such an important part of our culture, and they’re being squeezed out.
What has been the highlight of your time spent at the store?
I’ve had customers and families that have been shopping here for 42 years. Watching these families grow and now dealing with the second and third generations. So many of them have become friends of mine. That’s probably the highlight. And we’ve had a tremendous amount of celebrities: Wayne Gretzky, Doug Gilmour, Chris Bosh, Alec Baldwin, Hilary Duff, Jim Cuddy and even Sonny Bono.
What can you tell us about the new store on Balmuto Street?
We’re going to have 650 square feet, with higher ceilings. It will be a fresh take on what we do. Our prime excellence is delivering premium denim with alterations and service. That will continue. And we’ll be expanding our men’s department (416-967-7448).
Clockwise from top: Owner Joel Carman in front of the store in 1982, Carman with his wife Jinni (front right) and staff in 1977, a rendering of the new location