GORE BAY – The times they are a changing—and that is the case for two long-time Gore Bay businesses as the end of April marks the official sale of Woods Brother’s Clothing to the owners of Island Promotional Products.
The sale of Woods Brother’s Clothing marks a change for a business that has been in the Wood’s name since 1978. “The building has been in this location here since 1890,” Jim Woods, co-owner of the business with his wife Jo, told the Recorder this past Saturday. “Smith Brothers started a business in 1906, Smith Brothers Stores Ltd., and it was a grocery store years ago and the three brothers ran it.”
“My brother Bill and I purchased the building in 1978. My brother Bill was half owner of the business even while he was working in British Columbia at the time,” said Mr. Woods. “Bill then came back to Gore Bay in April 1978, but he but never worked at the clothing store. When he got back to Gore Bay he obtained his insurance certificate and sold real estate for London Life. After that he worked for the quarry for a few years.” Later, the two brothers purchased a restaurant, which was called B and J’s restaurant, which Bill Woods operated.
“I have run the business (Woods Brothers Clothing) for the past 43 years and four months,” said Jim, noting, “my wife Jo and I were married in 1977 and she worked in the store for a year.”
In 1982 Jim and Jo Woods and Bill and his wife Joanne bought the M and R Jewellery store from Rhea Woods, who had first the store in a different location in town in 1970. “We purchased the store from my mother and Joanne ran the jewellery store for many years.
Island Promotional Products “started in 2002 from our house, where we did small printing jobs,” said Dan Osborne, who owns the business with his wife Lynn. “Then, in the spring of 2003, we moved into a small location in the old town hall.” The business was moved into the back of the old Recorder office after that and in future years was located in the basement of B and J’s Restaurant, where it operated for about two or three years.
The business then ended up at what had been Steele’s Pro Hardware, until recently.
“We are basically going to incorporate everything we had in our store, Island Promotional Products, into (Wood’s Clothing Store),” said Ms. Osborne. “For instance, we are keeping the footwear and clothes and bringing our staff at our previous location and incorporating everything in this one location. And we will be sprucing things up a bit.”
“This is a very good location to own a business,” said Ms. Osborne.
Mr. Osborne noted that, “we approached Jim about this location in January of this year.”
“I’ve agreed to work with Dan and Lynn for the next three to four months as they get settled in,” said Mr. Woods. “I will continue running the jewellery store along with my two part-time employees, so I will be at the store a little less than I have been.”
“It has been a good 43 years and four months in running the clothing store,” said Mr. Woods. “The retail industry in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s was tough and the prevalence of big box stores made things tougher. One of the things we had going for us is that we have had a lot of loyal customers over the years.”
Mr. Osborne pointed out Dayle McDougall will continue working at the new store. “And Lynn and I are changing the name of the store to Island General Merchandise.”