Building demo reveals Edmonton ad for pandemic-killed Army & Navy
EDMONTON -- What a coincidence that months after the pandemic forced western Canada’s Army & Navy chain to close in its 101st year, the store would see a brief resurrection in Edmonton.
Demolition on Fort Road near 127 Avenue NW has revealed a mural advertisement for the former department store, freshly surfaced with the teardown of a neighbouring building.
“The largest stock of work clothes in the city,” the ad reads.
“We outfit the entire family from head to toe.”
The president of the Edmonton Advertising Club, Jill Scheyk, noted, “They were kind of the Walmart or the Amazon of their times.”
Nely Picon, whose company is responsible for the demolision, says the newly found ad has become very popular.
"I've been seeing lots of people walk by taking pictures of the site," Picon told CTV News Edmonton.
"It's been pretty nice."
PANDEMIC FORCES ARMY & NAVY TO SHUTTER
One of the chain’s remaining five stores was boarded up in Edmonton in the early months of the pandemic, exactly one year after the company celebrated its 100th birthday.
Samuel Cohen started the business in 1919 and grew it to nine stores and a mail-order operation.
Edmonton’s second Army & Navy location in Londonderry Mall was closed in 2016.
The Whyte Avenue store survived until 2020, when the founder’s granddaughter and current president and CEO, Jacqui Cohen, announced the challenge of COVID-19 was “insurmountable.”
At the time, there was another store in Calgary and three in B.C.
- READ MORE: 101-year-old retailer Army & Navy will close permanently, says owner
- READ MORE: Edmonton Christmas Market moving to former Army & Navy building
A FLEETING DISCOVERY
Army & Navy’s resurrection in Edmonton will be short lived.
The building whose side bears the ad also faces demolition, along with other buildings on the Fort Road corridor.
The city is working to widen Fort Road to six lanes from Yellowhead Trail to 66 Street.
It is also building a new industrial collector road on 125 Avenue from 61 Street to 71 Street with a shared-use path.