Kathleen Dolan sheltered her face from the rain as she peered into the darkened storefront of Backyard & Veranda in Dartmouth Crossing.
With no warning, the home decor store posted a closure notice on its website and Facebook page Wednesday morning, sparking confusion and disappointment on social media.
Both the Dartmouth and Sunnyside Mall stores were closed down.
“I’m pretty surprised,” said Dolan, who had driven to the Dartmouth location in search of furnishings for her nursery. “They have such nice stuff, it’s really hard to find anywhere else in the city.”
Dolan said she had visited the location two weeks ago and everything seemed “business as usual.”
The owner of Backyard & Veranda could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Bedford councillor Tim Outhit said he’s always unhappy when a locally-owned store closes in his area.
“It’s a wonderful buy-local boutique with wonderful customer service… employing some local people. So it’s always very sad,” Outhit said.
He added it would be interesting to know whether the store’s operating costs were going up because of property taxes, suggesting more could be done with tax reform to help small businesses.
Jim Cormier, Atlantic director for the Retail Council of Canada, said retail is one of the most competitive industries, and said the Halifax economy hasn’t completely bounced back from the recession.
“Retail is often a very good barometer in public confidence in the economy,” Cormier said.
“People are always going to buy their groceries, but … they may put off buying that electronic item they’ve always wanted.”
A sign on the door of the Dartmouth location stated any questions could be directed to Grant Thornton, but calls from Metro were not returned Wednesday.