Business closures in Bay Roberts
Well-known department store to close soon; last dedicated video rental outlet shuts down
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.
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.