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Army & Navy Department Stores Closed After 101 Years Now a Homeless Shelter

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 23rd, 2021 2:39 pm
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Army & Navy Department Stores Closed After 101 Years Now a Homeless Shelter

https://globalnews.ca/news/6925509/coro ... y-closing/

A 101-year-old retail icon in B.C. and Alberta is closing due to financial pressures from COVID-19.
Army & Navy closed its department stores “temporarily” in March due to the pandemic.
But in a statement Saturday, president and CEO Jacqui Cohen said while the company had hoped to reopen, “the economic challenges of COVID-19 have proven insurmountable.”

“I am full of gratitude for our staff and their years of service, our suppliers with whom we forged decades-long relationships, and of course our loyal customers who were at the heart of our business,” said Cohen.

“It is hard to comprehend. This time last year we were celebrating the centenary of Army & Navy — a company my grandfather started in 1919 — and we were looking forward to the years ahead. Now we are closing a company that was at the heart of eight communities in western Canada over its 101 years.”

Army & Navy was founded in 1919 by Samuel Cohen, who parlayed a thriving trade in post-war military surplus into a discount department store chain.

The company currently has locations in Vancouver, the home of its flagship East Hastings Street store, New Westminster, Langley, Calgary and Edmonton.
Along with its low prices, Army & Navy is particularly known for its annual shoe sales, which have historically drawn long lineups.
Last edited by LonesomeDove on Feb 23rd, 2021 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Have a nice day!


30 replies
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2016
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Comox Valley
That is stunning, they have been around forever.
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Oct 6, 2007
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Kootenays
Although we haven't been in one in years, (we're hours from the nearest) it's a shame to see them fold. Used to be a cool store to browse.
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Oct 22, 2007
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London
There's another chain, called SAAN which seems to have a parallel history and the same founder name?
SAAN (short for Surplus Army, Air Force, Navy) had its beginnings in Winnipeg in 1947, when founders Albert and Sam Cohen opened their first store on Main Street. Surplus items from the Canadian armed forces (hence the store's name) were the company's first supply source until its sales grew and more SAAN stores opened.[2] From there, the number of stores grew to over 200 in western Canada and Ontario, focusing on clothing, footwear and accessories. SAAN expanded into eastern Canada in February 1997 with the acquisition of 89 locations once owned by other retailers including Greenberg's; that same year, the chain added hard goods such as kitchen items, bed and bath items, furniture, toys, housewares, stationery and health and beauty products to their product lines.
Deal Addict
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Jan 19, 2005
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Love their stores. Have lots of childhood memories from there. Sad to see them go.
signature closed for renovation
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Jan 30, 2006
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Vancouver
It’s called prime real estate and big bucks for army navy owners.
[OP]
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trellaine201 wrote: It’s called prime real estate and big bucks for army navy owners.
The reason Army & Navy is able stay in business so long is they own their properties. However, I would not call their East Hastings location "prime" real estate. In the middle of Skid Road is not exactly desirable property. It will be hard to find a tenant for that building. Finding a buyer would be hard too, who would buy it in such a terrible area.
Have a nice day!


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Nov 13, 2010
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Scarborough
The longer this lockdown goes on, we’ll see more and more places close permanently
Seems thats the plan of these govts ?
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Dec 5, 2006
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Markham
apnayloags wrote: The longer this lockdown goes on, we’ll see more and more places close permanently
Seems thats the plan of these govts ?
They can open business tomorrow, but if no one go out to shopping because case surge, there is no difference for business. Actually it would be worse for business because they will have more expenses

Problem is covid, not government
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Oct 6, 2007
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LonesomeDove wrote: The reason Army & Navy is able stay in business so long is they own their properties. However, I would not call their East Hastings location "prime" real estate. In the middle of Skid Road is not exactly desirable property. It will be hard to find a tenant for that building. Finding a buyer would be hard too, who would buy it in such a terrible area.
What ever happened to the Woodwards building? Wasn't that slated for residential development?
Last edited by smacd on May 10th, 2020 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
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It's too bad, but times are changing for the brick stores. Loved the outdoor goodies in the basement, walking across the alley to the other side of the building, and then the weigh scale!
I still recall walking to Army & Navy, Woodwards as a kid and did not have much fear. Now a days, I don't even bother driving in that area.
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LonesomeDove wrote: The reason Army & Navy is able stay in business so long is they own their properties. However, I would not call their East Hastings location "prime" real estate. In the middle of Skid Road is not exactly desirable property. It will be hard to find a tenant for that building. Finding a buyer would be hard too, who would buy it in such a terrible area.
It’s less than a block away from a 35 storey luxury condo tower. There’s plenty of potential there for redevelopment or some other business to move in; that area has been gentrifying for years already. In fact it with Costco just 3 blocks away and thriving, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart moved in.
Sr. Member
Jun 5, 2016
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Kiraly wrote: It’s less than a block away from a 35 storey luxury condo tower. There’s plenty of potential there for redevelopment or some other business to move in; that area has been gentrifying for years already. In fact it with Costco just 3 blocks away and thriving, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart moved in.
+1. I think the Army & Navy store has a super weird layout? I remember half of it is across an alley and there's one or two levels of upstairs and downstairs too? I cant see any retailer wanting the whole space as is but if they own the whole building I'm sure a developer will snap it up.
Sr. Member
May 11, 2008
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Vancouver
Pretty sure Army & Navy's been struggling for years.
It's been over a year since the Vancouver location closed their entrance off of Hastings and you can only enter off of Cordova.
I occasionally stopped in to pick up small things but the last time I was in the store there were so many empty shelves.
[OP]
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Kiraly wrote: It’s less than a block away from a 35 storey luxury condo tower. There’s plenty of potential there for redevelopment or some other business to move in; that area has been gentrifying for years already. In fact it with Costco just 3 blocks away and thriving, I wouldn’t be surprised if Walmart moved in.
No way Walmart is going to move in that location. It is too small with no parking.

As for gentrification, there is a huge movement to stop it in that area. Costco was built 15 years ago, Tinseltown was built 20 years ago, Woodwards rebuilt in the 1990's Since then, nothing has been built in that area except for social housing. How about the lot across A&N on Hastings, the site where Wosk's stood? It is empty for 30 years.

Any time something is proposed in that area will be subjected to large protests. You only need to go to the edge of Chinatown where a proposed condo project has been rejected time and time again due to community activists.

Plus we have a left wing council for the last 20 years who are sympathetic to anti-development Downtown Eastside activists.
Have a nice day!


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May 11, 2008
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LonesomeDove wrote: No way Walmart is going to move in that location. It is too small with no parking.

As for gentrification, there is a huge movement to stop it in that area. Costco was built 15 years ago, Tinseltown was built 20 years ago, Woodwards rebuilt in the 1990's Since then, nothing has been built in that area except for social housing. How about the lot across A&N on Hastings, the site where Wosk's stood? It is empty for 30 years.

Any time something is proposed in that area will be subjected to large protests. You only need to go to the edge of Chinatown where a proposed condo project has been rejected time and time again due to community activists.

Plus we have a left wing council for the last 20 years who are sympathetic to anti-development Downtown Eastside activists.
On the Cordova St side of Army & Navy demolition has begun for a mixed use building.
Commercial units on the ground level, and the rest is a mix of social & market rental units.
Sr. Member
Jun 5, 2016
589 posts
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LonesomeDove wrote: No way Walmart is going to move in that location. It is too small with no parking.

As for gentrification, there is a huge movement to stop it in that area. Costco was built 15 years ago, Tinseltown was built 20 years ago, Woodwards rebuilt in the 1990's Since then, nothing has been built in that area except for social housing. How about the lot across A&N on Hastings, the site where Wosk's stood? It is empty for 30 years.

Any time something is proposed in that area will be subjected to large protests. You only need to go to the edge of Chinatown where a proposed condo project has been rejected time and time again due to community activists.

Plus we have a left wing council for the last 20 years who are sympathetic to anti-development Downtown Eastside activists.
Old woodwards was demolished in 2006 and new woodwards finished building in 2010.

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