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July 4, 2020 July 4, 2020

History in the making: Army & Navy stores close after 101 years

Posted on June 30, 2020 by Sunny South News

I didn’t realize in 1962, I worked for a prominent businessman Sam Cohen, who owned the Army & Navy Mail Order, Regina SK. began operations in the late 1950’s. He started the department store in Vancouver in 1919, predominantly selling military surplus supplies from which the store’s name originated. Cohen’s motto throughout the years of “Buy cheap, sell cheap. Pass the deal onto the customers.”

My position there was to look after the returns, and there was a lot. I had to sort them out, discard some, and place the good ones back on the shelves. The company had a buyer Cissel Kieser, who travelled to Montreal and Ontario to buy shoes from Jobbers. He would pay 25 cents a pair, assorted styles and sizes that were discontinued lines in quantities of 100,000 and sold them for $7.50 a pair. Bert Hastings was the shipper and receiver and when the shipment of shoes arrived they had me unpack and sort out the shoes. It was a great experience when I left Army & Navy I acquired the experience working for Bata shoes.

The General Manager, was Thomas Chadwick. There were various departments-shoes, boots, dress pants, parkas, coats for men’s and women apparel. The company hired an artist who sketched their catalog on a monthly basis, and distributed them by Canada Post.

They closed all their stores throughout Western Canada, including Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina as Canada’s first discount department store chain after 101 years in business.

PAUL JONES
Coaldale

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