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Ronsons Shoes liquidation store opens in New West - temporarily

This shoe company has bounced back since going into receivership in the early days of COVID

Local shoppers are making tracks to a newly opened shoe shop in downtown New West.

A new Ronsons clearance store was doing a bustling business when it opened its doors in Columbia Square on Sunday.

“We're happy to be there, and it looks like, so far, the New West people are responding well to it,” said company president Mike Taylor. “So we're hoping they can get some good value there.”

But didn’t Ronsons Shoes close?

In 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company went into receivership. Taylor (advertising) was among the suppliers to Ronsons who were surprised that the company had gone into receivership.

“We were owed money, along with many others. Myself and a couple of partners discussed this and ended up making a bid to buy the name and the inventory from the receivers,” he said. “And we ended up being awarded the bid. That happened in June of 2020 that we did that.”

A month later, Ronsons’ new owners opened five liquidation stores in the Lower Mainland with the intention of liquidating the inventory and seeing where things went.

“We had a very good team of people, former employees that were dedicated to the cause and a couple of key people that were involved in running of the company. And the public made a lot of comments that they were very sorry that the company was in receivership and they had liked shopping at Ronsons, they felt that it had good service. It had a very good name in the community,” Taylor said. “So at the end of that year, of the liquidation, I elected to buy out my partners and continue with the regular store concept.”

Today, Ronsons has three “regular” store locations in Langley, White Rock and Victoria. The temporary store in New West is a liquidation store, where shoppers will find some of the remaining products from the early COVID days, special buys from suppliers, and stock that can’t go in the regular stores because they no longer have a full range of sizes.

“And so, we have the ability to do these liquidation stores,” Taylor said. “And once a year, our plan is to do to do this. And this time, it's New West.”

The store in downtown New Westminster is expected to remain open into the summer, but the exact timing depends on how its inventory holds up.

“We hope that we'll be there till the end of July.  It could be longer. It could be shorter, but somewhere between the end of June and the end of August,” Taylor told the Record. “We'll see how it goes. If it's going really well, we might run out of inventory. So we just don't know, it's very hard to pin down.”

Taylor said there hasn’t been a Ronsons store in New West in the past, but the company knows that local residents shopped at its previous locations, including stores in Metrotown and Surrey.

“We just felt New West was a good market and a place that that might respond well to this concept,” he said. “And so far, it's very early on but it seems to be doing well there.”

Taylor said Ronsons stores focus on fashionable shoes, but comfort is key.

“The shoes in that store are all from 40 to 70 per cent off … the regular price,” he said. “So it's very good value and fashionable comfort.”

While the retail landscape changed in many ways during COVID, Taylor said folks have returned to in-person shoe shopping.

“It's definitely turned, the corner for sure. And shoes are something that, unlike many things that you can buy online, you're much better trying them on. It's more of a personal thing than a lot of clothing. So, yeah, so it definitely has turned since COVID and people are out buying for sure.”

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