Sunday, December 9, 2012 | Categories: Documentaries
(Photo: David Gutnick)
The closing of Zellers means the closing of the in-store restaurants. For many seniors they offer the only affordable meal out, and a second family. David Gutnick brings us a snapshot from the last week at the Zellers restaurant at Billings Bridge Plaza in Ottawa.
In the midst of the Great Depression, Walter Phillip Zeller bet that he could still get people to buy things.
His slogan: "Stores for thrifty Canadians."
Zellers popped up coast to coast, more than two hundred of them. And they thrived for decades, just as Walter Phillip Zeller had hoped.
But two years ago, the American giant Target gobbled up most of the stores' shopping mall leases. That means that most Zellers in Canada will be gone by next March. And so will the in-store restaurants which, you may be surprised to know, matter a lot to some people.
In Ottawa's Billings Bridge Plaza, the restaurant is tucked in a
corner, away from the children's boots and men's underwear. It's an old
fashioned little world of its own.
The floor is black and white tile. There are pale green walls, leatherette booths and benches and rounded table corners. Coffee is just plain coffee: Refills are free. You can sit as long as you want.
But in a few days, the seniors' hot lunch specials, the evening bingo games and the waitresses' smiles will be just memories. The restaurant will close its doors next Saturday.
The ice cream has run
out. The annual Christmas dinner is cancelled.
The place is going to be missed.