October 19, 2019

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Longtime florists bid farewell to Polo Park

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/7/2011 (3003 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One of Polo Park Shopping Centre's original tenants is on the move -- and its owners aren't too happy about it.

Broadway Florists will sell its last rose from its high-profile location at the south end of Winnipeg's busiest mall today -- after more than a half-century there -- and then complete its relocation to Academy Road.

Broadway's owners, brothers Ernie and Costa Cholakis, bought Villa Flora and took over the River Heights store July 1.

They're not moving because they want to. Ernie Cholakis said they were informed by Cadillac Fairview, the mall's owner, they wouldn't be able to renew their lease at their current location because a new tenant was moving in. Instead, they were offered a considerably smaller space at the other end of the mall.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/7/2011 (3003 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ernie Cholakis and his brother, Costa (right), were offered a much smaller space in the mall.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ernie Cholakis and his brother, Costa (right), were offered a much smaller space in the mall.

One of Polo Park Shopping Centre's original tenants is on the move — and its owners aren't too happy about it.

Broadway Florists will sell its last rose from its high-profile location at the south end of Winnipeg's busiest mall today — after more than a half-century there — and then complete its relocation to Academy Road.

Broadway's owners, brothers Ernie and Costa Cholakis, bought Villa Flora and took over the River Heights store July 1.

They're not moving because they want to. Ernie Cholakis said they were informed by Cadillac Fairview, the mall's owner, they wouldn't be able to renew their lease at their current location because a new tenant was moving in. Instead, they were offered a considerably smaller space at the other end of the mall.

The proposed 600-square-foot space between People's Jewellers and Scotiabank would have been a far cry from its longtime home, which had 1,000 square feet in the mall plus double that amount in the basement.

"We had coolers down there for storage. That's where all the delivery work is done. We wouldn't have been able to service our customers the same way. We would have needed an off-site facility," Cholakis said.

He said he's disappointed with the way Broadway was treated, particularly since it has been a loyal tenant since his grandfather, Ernest, opened the store. "I'm not bitter, that would just be wasted energy. We're looking forward to our move. That's the way Cadillac Fairview does business. It was a take it or leave it deal," he said.

"We'll be able to serve our customers better now, more of them are in that (River Heights) area. Our rent will be considerably less there but we'll lose some of the walk-up traffic that you get during the day and on holidays," he said.

When Polo Park celebrated its 50th anniversary two years ago, it built a display in the centre of the mall celebrating the original tenants that had seen it move from an open-air facility in the beginning to a closed-roof mall and to the addition of the second floor in the 1980s.

Patti Page, retail manager at Polo Park, said she couldn't publicly discuss negotiation details with individual tenants. She did say a lease with a new tenant for the Broadway space has yet to be finalized.

"Broadway Florists left because their lease expired. They've decided to go to an alternate location. They chose what works for them at this time. There are changes going on all the time at the shopping centre," she said.

Page noted most major malls these days do not have floral shops.

"It has been a great convenience to customers and employees to be able to pick up fresh flowers. We're looking forward to doing business with them in their new location," she said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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