Historic downtown Courtenay store closing

From knickerbockers to bell bottoms and everything in between, Rickson's Menswear has been through many men's fashion trends.
But after 94 years of business, the Fifth Street store in Courtenay is closing its doors.

Owner Blaine Douglas is retiring and selling Rickson's Men's Wear in downtown Courtenay.

Owner Blaine Douglas is retiring and selling Rickson's Men's Wear in downtown Courtenay.

From knickerbockers to bell bottoms and everything in between, Rickson’s Menswear has been through many men’s fashion trends.

But after 94 years of business, the Fifth Street store in Courtenay is closing its doors.

Owner Blaine Douglas said following 43 years as owner, he has made the decision to retire and sell the business.

“I wanted to retire, and an opportunity came along,” he said. “They don’t come along all that often and thought to myself ‘is that a good idea?’ “

Douglas notes the store is not closing because of the impact of big box stores coming to the area. Rather, “it was a conscious decision.

“We’ve negotiated with someone to buy the business early in 2011 … people have been really supportive. It’s good for everybody,” he added.

The new store — which will continue to sell men’s fashions — is scheduled to open Sept. 1.

Douglas, who began working full-time at the store since high school, remembers when Rickson’s was one of the only mens clothing stores in downtown Courtenay.

He says one of the biggest changes from when he began to today is the shift in the type of clothing they sell.

“There was a lot of industrial wear for loggers, and that slowly changed to casual wear. Also, when we first started, there was four guys working here, and now I’m the only guy,” he notes.

Douglas says despite the changes, one constant always remains the same throughout the years — customer service.

“It truly makes the difference; we look after our customers and have the ability to give excellent attention to our customers.”

Since word has been out of the closing, Douglas notes customers have been really supportive in his decision. “It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met so many great customers. There has been great support from the community,” he added. “It’s been really neat; people come come in and say congratulations.”

Upon retiring, Douglas plans to spend time working on his motorbike collection and taking some time to travel.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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