Vendors within Robin Hood ‘bite the dust’
Thousands of dollars in merchandise and layoffs are now issues that face several small businesses who operated out of the Robin Hood store on the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
Last week the retailer’s president Sandy Schaefer announced the store is closing after the business lost millions with the failure of the Prince Charles location last year.
Premium Wines & Spirits is one of those businesses that is left with the task of figuring out what to do with more than $100,000 in goods, as the owner has been forced to close up shop due to Robin Hood’s demise.
Gary Christie revealed to Guardian Business that Robin Hood’s closure came as a complete surprise to him.
“We did not expect the move, neither did we really anticipate it, because while we knew that Robin Hood was having some problems, we saw very positive signs of them working themselves out of their problems,” he explained.
“We have well over $120,000 in inventory sitting in this site alone. That’s a lot of inventory, but you can see it’s a big, successful store, so we are just going to have to think our way through it. What do we do with this entire inventory?
“It’s not easy to find good locations in the wines and spirits business because it’s a very competitive business.”
Christie said since taking up operations in November 2010, business has been steady, benefitting from Robin Hood’s traffic flow.
“We have been reasonably satisfied with our performance here. In fact, when we first started we were very satisfied because Robin Hood really had significant business. Robin Hood has driven so much traffic on this site that we have been able to benefit from,” Christie noted.
Like the other vendors who operated out of the Robin Hood location, Christie said his business operated under a lease agreement.
He noted the closure would have a tremendous impact on other businesses as well, such as a cell phone operator, a bank, food vendors and eyewear specialists, all of which sold goods out of that location.
“The impact of Robin Hood’s closure is not just on Mr. Schaefer and the Robin Hood staff, it is all of these small businesses that will bite the dust, quite frankly,” according to Christie.
“So if Robin Hood is not here, it really means that none of us can be here, so the impact on the other businesses that are associated with Robin Hood is great.”
Christie said the hardest part was telling his employees about the sudden store closure.
“I had to inform some of the young people who work for us that as Robin Hood closes, we have to close this particular operation and see where we go from there,” he said.
“At this location, we have four direct employees but we have other employees that assist our business, such as the delivery and accounting people. Now, all of a sudden we don’t need them. We have to review our own staffing needs now and react to that.”
Despite Robin Hood’s economic challenges, Christie said his business was able to maintain its market share.
He said it was perfect partnership because the businesses worked together.
The fact that his operation is closing really means that we have to do so also because we compliment each other,” Christie noted. “He’s selling groceries and we are selling wines and spirits, and we have a separate location but you can see that we’re linked and that people can come into the site and do one-stop shopping.”
Schaefer said he would do his best to ensure that the vendors are able to sustain their businesses and keep them open.
“Certainly, we feel beyond a legal obligation, a moral obligation to make sure those people aren’t impacted. We will do the best that we can. We feel completely responsible to try to take care of them,” Schaefer told Guardian Business.
In the meantime, Schaefer said he is in discussions with potential lessees and hopes that someone will lease the property soon.