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Local-focus storefront shutters in Airdrie, citing inflationary pressures

“We have loved getting to know all of this incredible community, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you so much for the support. We would not have lasted five years if it wasn’t for you.”

An Airdrie-based home goods store that champions local producers has recently announced it will be shutting its pantry doors for good on Feb. 10, citing inflationary pressures as the cause of the business's decision to call it a day.

Homegrown House and Pantry opened in early 2018 with the aim of providing Airdrie shoppers with easy access to Alberta’s best artisan foods and handmade household goods. In the five years since then, they have offered up a variety of made-in Alberta goods to stock one’s pantry, bathroom, and closet, as well as unique home décor to adorn one’s abode.

“Homegrown was born out of a love for local food and a desire to make it easily accessible in Airdrie,” read a statement on the shop’s website. “From there, we found a collection of trailblazers – Albertans who were willing to take a risk in a product they believed in.”

Lindsey Cybulskie, owner of Homegrown House and Pantry, said she started the business with the goal of offering a “made-in Alberta” storefront.

“Everything in our store is made in Alberta, and we try to get as many makers within an hour of where we are, and also to try to get as many female entrepreneurs as possible – I've always been about that,” she shared.

The business owner said an expiring lease and inflationary pressures are what precipitated the decision to shut down the storefront for good next month.

“We had a five-year lease and as we were getting closer to it in the fall, we just realized it wasn’t a good time to continue the business, mostly because of inflation,” she told the Airdrie City View.

Cybulskie added customers weren’t spending as much at the shop as they had in the past because they didn’t have as much disposable income. She noted sales decreased by about 20 per cent this year compared to the business’ early days.

The impending closure was announced in a Facebook post on the shop’s social media page last week, when Cybulskie advised customers that after five years, Homegrown was officially closing its doors in February.

“The last five years have been an absolute roller coaster. The ups were incredible, but the downs have been really, really hard,” she wrote. “Our lease is up and given the roller coaster of the past few years, I just know that in my gut, it just does not feel right to sign another lease.”

According to the shop owner, she is wary the closure may have a negative effect on the local business economy and other small businesses in town, but is hoping to end on good terms with her vendors.

“I’ve seen a lot of shops like ours start up and close in our five years, and some have done some incredible harm to our vendor community during their closing,” she said.

“I cannot imagine hurting those relationships I’ve built over these years, so I would rather close now and leave all my incredible vendors on good terms, than risk hurting them.”

The local business owner also started up the “Shop Local Airdrie Facebook Group” in 2019, out of a desire to see Airdrie residents start spending their money locally. The page grew in popularity amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“When you spend money locally, it stays locally and within your local economy a lot longer than it does if you go and spend your money at Wal-Mart,” she stated.

As tough economic times persist, Cybulskie predicted it will become increasingly difficult for local store owners and merchants in town, and encourages Airdronians to continue supporting local businesses as much as possible.

“They are definitely going to need your help. I know of a couple of other businesses that are closing and it’s just going to be a rough time for them,” she said.

Homegrown House and Pantry will be featuring a closing sale beginning on Jan. 25 until their final day of operations on Feb. 10. In the lead-up to that date, Cybulskie wants to send out a thank you to all the community members who have supported the shop over the years.

“They’ve been absolutely great, and it’s been fun to see what people can make and what people do in their spare time because we have so many talented people here in Airdrie that you have to continue supporting because they’re just incredible,” she said.

“We have loved getting to know all of this incredible community, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you so much for the support. We would not have lasted five years if it wasn’t for you.”

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