The Alberni Outpost in Courtenay was locked on Jan. 24, though the store still had the lights on inside. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Alberni Outpost closes

The Alberni Outpost has shut up shop.

The Alberni Outpost has shut up shop.

The outdoor and recreation-focused business with branches in Courtenay and Nanaimo is officially closed. The business’ owner Richard Antonchuk distributed a letter to the two stores’ staff on Jan. 23 notifying them of the immediate closure.

Kirk Friederich, the manager of the Courtenay branch, said he is still unsure why the business had to shut its doors.

“I don’t know if it’s foreclosed, if the bank’s taking it over, or if it’s under receivership,” he said.

When reached, Antonchuk said he does not want to comment on the Alberni Outpost’s closure for legal and emotional reasons.

The Courtenay branch (located across the parking lot from the Thrifty’s Foods on Cliff Ave.) was locked and unstaffed on Jan. 24, though the lights were on. The Nanaimo branch was also locked.

The business’ Facebook page and website were unresponsive, and calls to the business’ two branches went to voice mail.

Friederich said there were no signs the business was struggling, making the closure even more of a surprise.

“That’s the shocking part,” he said. “Sales were up 30 per cent over last year. We were doing well, at least that’s what I was told.

Friederich said there were three staff at the Courtenay branch and “about half a dozen” at the Nanaimo branch.

He said Antonchuk compensated staff.

“The owner went out of his way to give us certified cheques for our payment,” he said. “He made sure everyone was paid properly. Two weeks pay and some vacation pay. He stepped up to make sure all the staff were paid.”