Winds of change whistle through Laurier Avenue shops

Larry Newman

Lucas Nault (centre) and his team are preparing to move the business to Somerset St. West in Centretown. Their colourful presence will be missed in Sandy Hill.
Photo Harlequin Studios

Lucas Nault is moving but he doesn’t know where. His hair salon has been in Sandy Hill at 232 Laurier East for 15 years, but will be gone in 13 months. That wasn’t his plan. Lucas was a Sandy Hill resident in the Versailles, on Henderson, when it was still a family business. He just redecorated his shop and wasn’t planning on moving . . . ever. That was before the representative of Arnon Corp called and told him that they were not renewing his lease.

Quel choc! Lucas said there was no room for negotiation: Arnon had another lessee. I called Arnon at the number on the sign on the second floor of the building next to Lucas, and spoke to Michael Casey who is in charge of leasing. He said that the new tenant will likely be another franchise, probably controlled by MTY Food Group. MTY owns or controls over 40 franchise brands. Lucas will be out at the end of next year. This only complicates his situation, as his other shop on Main Street is in a building that has been expropriated.

He is not the only one with a lease problem. As I walk west on Laurier Avenue East, I noticed that Timothy’s is gone. Where have I been? When did this happen? It was a community gathering place.

It turns out that Timothy’s is one of MTY’s brands. Betty Brite Cleaners is now occupying only half of its former store. It appears that most of the offices on the second floor, above the west half of this block, are vacant and the Arnon Corporation is advertising 3431 square feet of space for lease.

On the other hand, the Moon Dog Pub and Grill owner says that he is staying. The Laurier Office Mart has a lease that has three more years left. The May Court’s Bargain Box also has three more years on its lease. Mr. Casey said that he loves the Bargain Box. The Circle K will remain, but the clerk at the store informs me that it will be under new management next week, and he will have to move.

Too much turnover in that block. We’ll miss all of you.