One of downtown Chilliwack’s long standing business will close its doors this weekend after more than 45 years of serving the community.
Graham’s Gifts last day will be this Saturday, and the store has been offering slashed prices on its giftware since announcing the closure. The store has been a fixture downtown since Nov. 30 1970, when Dick Graham bought Betty’s Variety and Gift store. Over the decades, they grew into their current 5,000 square foot space.
The Graham family recently sold the business, and an announcement was made on Jan. 3 that the store would be closing.
No plans have been announced to open another store in that location, but tributes poured in on the store’s Facebook page.
“Heartbreaking,” wrote Cathy Hooper Lowe. “Whenever I needed a nice gift and cards I went to this wonderful store. It will be greatly missed in our town.”
“Another piece of Chilliwack’s heritage is on the way out,” wrote Susan Hunt. “So sad to hear this.”
Kyle Williams, executive director of the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association, says the business will be a loss to the area.
“We are very sad to see Graham’s Gifts close after all these years,” he says. “They have been a feature business and an important piece of the downtown landscape for a long time. We feel bad for the staff members that have worked so hard to make Graham’s a warm and friendly place to shop.”
It’s never easy to see a long-time shop close, he adds, but it’s a decision that’s solely up to the owner. He hopes the loss will lead to an opportunity in the future for the downtown.
“Private investment in commercial spaces is what makes our small business community so great,” he says. “Ultimately, owners get to make the final decision on the fate of their businesses, however not all decisions are popular ones. Unfortunately, we have lost a good downtown business due to decisions that are beyond the control of anyone in this community. It is our hope that future decisions for this property will be more positive for the growth of our downtown.”