Davidners, long-time P.A. retail store, rings up final sale

Davidners, an 81-year-old fixture on Prince Albert's retail scene, is closing.
After 81 years, Davidners, a clothing store in Prince Albert, is closing. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

Davidners, an 81-year-old fixture on Prince Albert's retail scene that sold everything from top hats to roping gloves is closing.

"Mayhem," Leah Towill told CBC News Wednesday in describing the last day of business. "Mayhem and, yes, a lot of emotions for sure."

Towill's grandfather opened the store in 1933 and her father took it over, in part, so the elder Davidner could return to his first interest, farming.

Her father, Herschel Davidner, was deeply committed to the store, Towill said.

"It was his passion," she said. "He loved selling people things they needed, of quality, that was Canadian-made. He was proud of that. He was very proud of that."

The business went to Towill a year ago, when her father died and her brothers decided not to take it over. She was more than familiar with the store, however, having worked there since she was a child.

Towill said the store enjoyed a special relationship with the community.

"It's the ridiculously positive community that we live in," she said. "They give back."

"It's going to be a loss to Prince Albert," Edward Pidborochynski, one shopper, said Wednesday.

"I feel it's a shame," Wayne Johnson, another customer, added about the closing, noting the long-time operator has been missed. "This store was Mr. Herschel. Anytime you came in here, he was sitting in his chair and you'd have a good conversation."

"I think he was a fairly easy person to get along with," Russel James Bird, another customer said of Davidner. "He always chatted with his customers ... and you get to know the people running the store."

"At the end of the day, there's going to be lots of tears," Towill said, adding she was looking forward to spending more time her grandchildren.

Towill explained that her father was making plans to sell the business and died unexpectedly from complications with pneumonia before those plans could be finalized.

She explained that her brothers were reluctant to take over because they had moved out of the community.

With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon