Willowbrook Lane will close at the end of March. From left are staff members Jean Flebbe

Willowbrook Lane to close

After almost 23 years as a downtown Summerland retail presence, Willowbrook Lane will close its doors this spring.

After almost 23 years as a downtown Summerland retail presence, Willowbrook Lane will close its doors this spring.

The store’s close-out sale begins today and will continue until March 31.

Allan Fabbi, owner of Willowbrook Lane with his wife Ronda, said the store had its beginnings in the gift department of Summerland Pharmacy.

As the gift department grew, a separate location was needed.

“We ran out of room in the drug store, so we started a new store,” he recalled.

The new location, under the Willowbrook Lane name, was started in the spring of 1991.

The gift store marketed itself to the Okanagan  not just Summerland, and as a result, shoppers came from around the valley.

Over the years, the styles and items at the store changed as a result of changing tastes and trends.

Originally, it had a Victorian theme, but over time, collectibles, larger pieces and wine accessories were featured.

“We were always ahead of the trends,” Fabbi said.

Customer activity dropped off in recent years, partly because of changing shopping trends, partly because of the rise of big box stores in the Okanagan Valley and partly because of road construction, Fabbi said.

The expansion of Highway 97 between Summerland and Peachland was a three-year process and proved an inconvenience for potential customers from the north.

Then, after the highway work was completed, Summerland upgraded its two primary entrance routes to the community, Rosedale Avenue and Prairie Valley Road.

The traffic disruptions meant fewer customers came to the community, to any of the retailers.

“Less traffic means less sales,” he said.

Fabbi said numerous retail businesses in Summerland were affected at the same time and for the same reasons.

The decision to close the store was a difficult one.

“We have strong emotional ties. We created Willowbrook Lane,” he said.

The closing will affect four permanent people on staff and five high school and university students.

 

“We’ve had a very loyal staff over the years,” he said. “They’re a big part of our success.”

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Young PIB man skips jail time for grad party assault

Aaron Jack-Kroeger was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence in Penticton’s courthouse

Vernon Search & Rescue find lost snowmobiler

Male, 19, went missing in Hunter’s Range area near Enderby

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Honesty turns to harsher jail sentence for Penticton man

Jakob Holmes kicked a cop in the face while she was on the ground after she attempted to arrest him

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

Slayer adds Penticton to North American tour

Slayer adds the South Okanagan Events Centre as a stop on their last tour

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Vancouver Canucks confirm participation in NHL Young Stars

Canucks confirmed participation, at least for this year, in the NHL Young Stars event in Penticton

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Snowfall warnings for mountain passes

Lots of snow expected to fall today.

Most Read