After a quarter century of selling major appliances, videos and flooring in the Old Town area, Canoe City Video and Appliance will be closing its doors next month.
Owner Tim Letourneau, a Brunswick native who has called the Old Town area his home for more than three decades, decided just last week that the time is right for retirement.
“I’m 68 and I want to retire,” Letourneau explained. “It was a hard decision. I do enjoy it, but business has been slow recently, more with the flooring end of it.
“Appliance sales have done all right, but there’s no money in it by the time you get them delivered and all. The profit margin isn’t enough if you want to keep your prices competitive with the big stores.”
Letourneau and original partner Stan Peterson bought Whittier Firestone Store from Raleigh Whittier in 1986 and renamed it Canoe City Video and Appliance. Letourneau took over sole ownership about five years ago.
“We haven’t rented videos in over 10 years, but we had it at the beginning when we sold VCRs and DVD players,” said store manager Cindi Wickett, who started working at Canoe City 15 hours a week in 1990.
Like Letourneau, Wicket and fellow saleswoman Rose Brooks will miss the customers.
“I made a lot of phone calls yesterday and that was the hardest part. We have a lot of regulars and they are so loyal,” said Wickett, who is raising two grandchildren. “It’s kind of easy to see this happening with the economy the way it is. Can I wallow in it? Sure, but what are you going to do?
“I suppose I’ll find another job, and if I don’t I’ll go on unemployment. I’ll live off the state, which is something I’ve never done.”
Letourneau took over sole ownership of the business about five years ago and moved it from Main Street in Old Town to its current location at 19 Morin Lane in Bradley.
Letourneau will remain busy as the owner and landlord for a few apartments, a husband and father of three children, and an avid pilot.
“I have a 172 Cessna that I’ve flown since 1992 and a two-seat, single-propeller airplane in my basement I’m repairing called a Wagabond,” he said. “I bought it after it crashed in Greenville and I’ve been working on it off and on for seven years.”
Letourneau, who plans to keep the store open through the month of July while holding a going-out-of-business sale, wants customers to know store repair man Brian Smithson, owner of Antarctic Air and Appliances, will still service and repair Canoe City appliances after the store closes.