Brett and Doug Walker are all smiles after re-opening their store, Walker 24 Menswear, Friday. Photo by Scott Stanfield.

Walker 24 Menswear re-opens after four-month flood-forced closure

Doug Walker wasn’t expecting to have a grand reopening event when he made his plans for 2017 – especially considering his business, Walker 24 Menswear, is only two years old.

Some things are out of one’s control.

Walker 24 Menswear, at 408 Fifth St. in downtown Courtenay, reopened Friday morning, after an unplanned, extended closure, due to flooding.

“It’s been four months and change, of frustration … but we really are pleased with the response from the community,” said Walker, the day before the reopening. “People want us to be open. They are calling us, knocking on the door.

“Every time I open the door for a delivery there’s someone there trying to come in to shop.”

The troubles for the downtown merchant started in July. Contractors were installing a new roof onto the apartments above Walker 24 Menswear, when a rainstorm hit before the work was finished.

“The rainstorm we all knew was coming hit and it poured on top of our roof and leaked right through the ceiling. I stopped counting at 32 (leaks),” said Walker. “We actually managed to save about 80 per cent of the stuff… but now we have four months of inventory that hasn’t sold so that’s going to be on sale.”

Red Solo cups

Walker discovered the red plastic cups of beer and country music fame have multiple uses.

“I have a stash of those red Solo Cups … so I was putting those things out and those suckers were filling up so fast, I was running around, grabbing them, pouring the water down the sink and putting them out again. It was kind of exciting for a couple of hours there…

“At the end of the day, we got a new floor, brand new ceiling, brand new walls… it looks great. But something that should have taken 30 days took four months to complete.”

Community support

Walker said that while the frustrations of dealing with the closure were many, the support received from other companies and individuals in the Comox Valley has been notable.

“Service Master was really good… and I really need to thank Kory Wagstaff down at Prime Chophouse.

“We had all the wedding parties, whose clothing didn’t arrive until August. We had no place to do [fittings], so Kory let us use his back room.

“It was kind of funny because … the guys would show up, have a couple of sarsaparillas, maybe eat some lunch, and we would try things on, maybe refit them, then go up to the tailor afterward. We did that all through August and into September. Kory was kind enough to let us use the back room whenever we needed.”

Walker said it’s been a trying experience, but he remains ever-optimistic.

“People are happy that we are opening up again… I’m actually surprised and a little bit flabbergasted at the positive response. So I really can’t complain too much about what’s happened. Maybe it’s the silver lining in the cloud kind of thing, but … people have been really kind.”

Walker 24 Menswear is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.

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