Although the company that is currently operating Shaws of Perth has been ordered to leave the premises by Dec. 1, the building’s owners have indicated that the business will reopen soon under new management.
Handed an eviction notice, K.F.S. Ltd., which has run the iconic Gore Street business for the past 24 years, launched a going out of business sale starting Tuesday, Oct. 29. The building dates back to 1840, and has continuously operated as a clothing store since 1859.
The building’s owners have stated that they will announce the re-opening of Shaws of Perth shortly, and plan to be open for the Christmas shopping season.
On the weekend prior to the start of the sale, the business posted in its window an enlarged copy of the eviction notice, an Oct. 10 letter received from lawyers acting for Shaws of Perth Ltd., the corporation which owns the 200-year-old building at 1 Gore St. East and rents space on the ground floor to K.F.S. Ltd.. The letter stated that the lease on the building had expired in June 2018 and would not be renewed. “Our client requires vacant possession of the premises on December 1, 2019, and we look forward to your cooperation in that regard,” stated the letter, which was also briefly posted on the store’s Facebook page.
In a written response to the eviction notice, also enlarged and posted in the window and on Facebook over the weekend, Ahron Langburt, a member of the family which operates K.F.S. Ltd., stated that his offers to negotiate and renew the lease had been refused. “The only explanation given was that the landlord plans to take the building in a different direction,” he wrote.
In his response Langburt said the store had been fully stocked in anticipation of the Christmas season, and that he would be selling off his inventory for up to 80 per cent off regular prices starting Oct. 29. K.F.S. Ltd. operates a chain of stores located in Ontario and the Maritimes under various names including Tweed & Hickory, with their head office located in Cornwall and was founded in 1955. In 2014 the firm applied to the Ontario Superior Court for bankruptcy protection, citing operating losses due to “a significant decrease in sales volumes.”
On Oct. 29 the business’s Facebook page contained a new message stating, “We are a family run business of over 60 years and will continue to do so in our other locations. As of November 30 we will no longer be affiliated with the Shaws of Perth name.”
In an official statement to shareholders and the community, forwarded to the Hometown News Oct. 30, landlord John Quigley stated that: “As owners of the building since 1977, we have opted to consolidate the lease under one operator who will run an integrated store over both floors, and regretfully must part ways with the former operator.” This decision, he added “was not made lightly, and has been taken in order to both maintain the long-term viability of the operations, and to maintain the historical significance of the building through proper and routine maintenance.”
Quigley and his partners also advised that “the new vendor will continue to provide excellent products and services fully utilizing the building’s size, and proudly continue to use the name Shaws of Perth.”
Shaws of Perth was built in 1840 by Roderick Matheson, who built his nearby private home (now the site of the Perth Museum) at the same time. Matheson served as an officer in the War of 1812, and later as a Member of Parliament and Senator. Shaw’s originally opened as a store, saddle shop and printing office. After Henry D. Shaw of Smiths Falls married a daughter of Matheson in 1859, he opened a clothing store in the building, which was run by his descendants until the 1970s. The building has been officially recognized by the Town of Perth for its heritage value.