After 15 years in business, Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre in Winnipeg is closing its doors for good.
Ron Pradinuk opened the business in 2000 with his family. Due to an increasingly challenging online marketplace, Pradinuk said they have been forced to file for bankruptcy and close the store.
"I had a dream and it was a dream that was built by my wife and my daughter who worked in the store for so many years," said Pradinuk, adding the closure has been hard on everyone.
'It's a bit of a transition that none of us are feeling good with.' - Ron Pradinuk
"It's been very difficult. The store had a lot of meaning to us, a lot of meaning to our family who helped build it."
The travel agency industry has taken a hit in recent years, Pradinuk said, adding the internet has played a role in putting him out of business. Profits from sales in the store used to help keep the travel agency side afloat in tough times, but Pradinuk said as a smaller business, he is no longer able to maintain that balance.
"I think we had a family of customers. I can get emotional right now. It's amazing to me the amount of people who talked about this store, very unique concept, and have embraced it," said Pradinuk, adding he wishes he could do more to keep his workers employed.
"They're great people. They've worked with me. We've had good times before the bad times. I'll do anything to help them succeed," said Pradinuk.
"In the long run, it will be difficult and in the short run it's a bit of a transition that none of us are feeling good with what has taken place."
Pradinuk said while he would like to believe re-launching the business is possible, he doesn't think it's financially feasible. He said he'll miss meeting prospective travellers ahead of their journeys.
"I loved dealing with people, talking travel, loved seeing people come in and be so happy with what they found in our place," he said. "I will miss the day-to-day interaction. My office had a window and it was right in the store ... that is going to take some time to adjust [to]."
Pradinuk encouraged anyone with gift certificates to Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre to visit the store before 6 p.m. on Saturday, adding he can't guarantee customers will be able to redeem them after the store closes.
Journeys's senior travel agent, along with all of the company's travel agency customers, have been transferred to River East Travel.