Busi­ness clo­sures in Bay Roberts

Well-known depart­ment store to close soon; last ded­i­cated video rental out­let shuts down

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICHOLAS MERCER

Two long­time busi­nesses in the Town of Bay Roberts have closed, or are in the process of clos­ing.

The Wescal Depart­ment Store on the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way is in the midst of clos­ing its doors for the fi­nal time.

Al­though there is no timetable for the clo­sure, the busi­ness started sell­ing off its mer­chan­dise at dis­count prices some two weeks ago.

Wescal has a long and sto­ried his­tory in Bay Roberts, hav­ing served con­sumers for al­most 45 years.

Orig­i­nally started by Wes­ley Spencer and his nephew Calvin Spencer, Wescal orig­i­nally opened in Bay Roberts in 1969.

The name is a com­bi­na­tion of the first names of Wes­ley and Calvin.

The store’s first lo­ca­tion was in the same build­ing that now houses The Source and The Mat­tress Store, be­fore mov­ing to the Beaver Plaza shortly af­ter its open­ing in 1976.

In 2009, the store moved to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion in the for­mer Pow­ell’s Su­per­mar­ket next to Mercer’s Garage.

Wescal cur­rently em­ploy­ees 10 peo­ple from the com­mu­nity.

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood said there are “dif­fer­ent emo­tions” that come to mind when a busi­ness closes in any com­mu­nity.

“You’re sad, you’re dis­ap­pointed and any­time a long-term busi­ness shuts down, like Wescal, you feel for the cus­tomers, the em­ploy­ees and the own­ers,” he said.

Wood said Wescal was one of the first depart­ment stores in the area.

“It’s sort of an iconic store in Bay Roberts for a long time, and there­fore you get your dif­fer­ent emo­tions, sad­ness and dis­ap­point­ment,” said the mayor. “Wescal at­tracted a lot of peo­ple to the Bay Roberts area from all around.

“The town will miss it, and with re­gard to that, you cer­tainly hope the em­ploy­ees find some­thing again.”

The Com­pass at­tempted to con­tact cur­rent owner El­iz­a­beth Pil­grim on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, but was un­suc­cess­ful in se­cur­ing an in­ter­view.

Al­lan’s Video no more

The last ded­i­cated video rental store in the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion rented its last DVD or Blu-ray two weeks ago.

Al­lan’s Video, lo­cated just around the cor­ner from Wescal at the set of traf­fic lights at the in­ter­sec­tion of Wa­ter Street in Bay Roberts and the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way, has been serv­ing con­sumers in Bay Roberts and sur­round­ing area for some two decades.

Ded­i­cated video rental stores have been quickly dis­ap­pear­ing across Canada over the past num­ber of years be­cause of ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of on­line op­tions such as Net­flix, as well as the pi­rat­ing of movies over the In­ter­net.

Al­lan’s Video rep­re­sented the last bas­tion for stores solely ded­i­cated to the rentals of movies.

The move fol­lows a 2010 de­ci­sion to close the Movie Gallery in Car­bon­ear.

At­tempts to ar­range an in­ter­view with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of J. W. Al­lan Co. Ltd., were un­suc­cess­ful. The com­pany is head­quar­tered in St. John’s.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Wescal Depart­ment Store in Bay Roberts is sell­ing off its mer­chan­dise at dis­count prices as it pre­pares to close for good in the near fu­ture.

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