A long-time tenant at the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall, Red Coral, is set to close its doors later this month. Not directly the result of the COVID-19 crisis, the decision’s timing was at least partly influenced by the current environment.
A wholesale and retail importer of women’s clothing and accessories, Red Coral started with a booth at the farmers’ market before moving to the outlet mall.
“It’s been a long time; we were one of the original tenants. Coupled with the COVID situation, it just seemed like a natural time to say goodbye,” explained owner Angela Ting of the decision to wind down by month’s end.
The family business started in the mid to late ’80s out of the St Jacobs Farmers’ Market. When the outlet mall was being started, developer Mercedes Corp., headed by Milo Shantz, asked Ting’s family if they’d be interested in opening a store at that location.
“We were touched and humbled because everyone else at the outlet mall was a big brand name like Levis,” she said of the nearly 25 years at the centre.
She noted the family had a great relationship with the landlord, with great communication through the current coronavirus situation.
From its roots in St. Jacobs, Red Coral now has multiple locations, including a new store in Stratford, as well as in Mississauga.
Ting expects the St. Jacobs store to be open until around June 26, depending on how much merchandise remains. While the operation is winding down, all of the coronavirus protocols remain in effect: there is a current capacity of five patrons in the store at a time, and staff are all wearing masks and following social distancing as well as being supplied gloves. Other precautions include hand sanitizer available for customer use and cleaning of change rooms between fittings.
“If the store is or at capacity, we will ask customers to wait outside,” said Ting.
Hours of operations have adjusted and are now Monday through Friday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m.
Ting said she has “really fond memories” of the location.
“I remember helping out every weekend, hiring my friends from high school and telling them to come work for my mom in the summer.”
Although the store’s closure is a challenge for the family, Ting says, “I think my parents are very happy – it is a bittersweet moment for us.”
In making the transition, the company has been able to transfer staff from the outlet mall to its operation in downtown St. Jacobs.