Thursday, January 8, 2015

J.A.Binette Verdun's Last Friendly Hardware Store Closing

According to the owners of J.A.Binette they are the 2nd oldest business in Verdun, & they have now decided to close their doors for good. Listen to their story in this youtube video, Also the story appears in today's online Montreal Gazette: Oh the oldest store in Verdun "Grover's Men's Wear" we all know that one & probably no doubt have bought something from there more than once.

  I sometimes wonder if a visit to Montreal is really worth it to me anymore, the nostalgia factor is there & I use to visit fairly regularly, but knowing of all the different (& inevitable) changes that have transpired over the 40 or so years I've been gone, make me think that I'd rather remember the place as it was. Sure I know they have done wonders making the waterfront look fantastic, & they have turned a million rat infested factories into overpriced condos . Few if any of our favourite haunts or restaurants are even there anymore. A walk on the Mountain would still be good, a walk on the boardwalk would still be good,seeing the Natatorium,& the old Auditorium (even though that tin facade looks like shit compared to the old Aud. but that type of stuff would still spark a memory bank full of all kinds of memories.  I think maybe it is age that says to me there is really nothing there for me anymore (some old friends & family being the exceptions) no I think I will choose to remember the place and allow my memories to stay relativel,y intact................Afterall once a Montrealer/Verdunite, you are always a Montrealer (Verdunite or er , your choice) Anyway Have Fun & Remember Verdun  Cheers ! LesF
   The Following is the story as it appears in the Montreal Gazette:

Verdun hardware store pulls the plug after 58 years


For almost 60 years, Quincaillerie J.A. Binette fought the good fight.

But now, it’s lights out for the neighbourhood hardware store in Verdun, among the last of a near-extinct breed killed off by the big-box chains and changing consumer habits.
By March, and possibly earlier, it will have become another retail ghost. The building on Verdun Ave. already has been sold, and the store is in liquidation mode now, offering savings of up to 30 per cent this week, and up to 50 per cent next week, to clear the shelves.
“We resisted for a long time, but that’s over now. We’re getting up in age and starting to get pretty tired,” said Pierre Binette, 66, co-owner of the 1,600-square-foot store with brother Guy, 70.
Sons of Joseph-Adrien Binette, a former paint contractor who founded the business in 1956 and reported for work daily until his death 10 years ago at age 89, the brothers are the only full-time employees, trying to compensate with service for what they cannot offer in selection and price. It’s been a losing battle.
“That’s not what customers care about anymore,” Pierre said. “It’s not about personal contact anymore, it’s strictly business, and there’s no fidelity. Young people have the big-box habit. It’s what they know. We offer free delivery, and yet few people bothered to use it. They’re used to cash-and-carry. In the old days, we’d be delivering all day. Now, it’s once or twice a day, if you’re lucky.”
Commercial painter Simon Favreau, a client for 35 years, said he understands the decision to close, but he’ll miss the camaraderie and the service. Especially the service.
“They have a key to my house,” said Favreau. “Sometimes, if I’m working late, I’d call in an order and they’d deliver right into my basement, so I’d be ready to go first thing the next morning. There were also times when Pierre would open for me on a Saturday night so I could get something for the next day. You’ll never see that with Réno-Dépot.”
The business had a number of other distinctions. It still sold individual screws, and nails by the pound. On the walls were photos of the founder, but also clients, now deceased. “We remember them all,” Pierre said.
The store also maintained its 40-year tradition of setting up a large crèche in the front window every Christmas, augmented in recent years by a separate model-railroad display. If you missed them this year, you missed them forever.
The Binette brothers grew up in the business, working alongside their father, and have seen it evolve.
“My dad said that when he opened, there were 25 hardware stores in Verdun alone,” Guy said. “Now we’re two, soon to be one.
“Retail has just grown more and more difficult, especially in the last five years, and not just in the hardware sector. It’s a very different game. Even if our kids had wanted to carry on the business, I wouldn’t have recommended it. It takes up a lot of your life and it’s not as profitable as it should be.”

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