Airdrie shoe store’s 15 year run set to end after alleged backdoor lease deal
The owner of Airdrie’s Walkin’ Around says his shoe business’ days are numbered after his landlord reneged on an agreed lease and offered the location to a Calgary-based footwear dealer.
“We opened here in 2003 because there wasn’t a shoe store in Airdrie,” said Frankie Eng, the store’s owner. “We’re still the only one here.”
Eng says he had decided not to renew his lease, which was set to end in October, for another five years as he wanted to step back from his business on Airdrie’s Main Street. When a colleague said she wanted to take over the store, a deal was reached and the landlord was informed that they would in fact be renewing the lease under the new ownership.
“She had the same vision that I had but she had more desire to do things to expand the business,” said Eng of the woman he sold the store to. “I was excited. I was really excited when she really, really wanted it.”
Eng says a letter of intent was submitted to the landlord but a contract had not been signed.
Earlier this week, Eng learned that the location hasd been offered to ‘Soul to Sole’, a Calgary-based retailer that he says had previously attempted to purchase ‘Walkin’ Around’ from him but he rejected their proposal.
Eng claims the landlord went behind his back to broker the deal that effectively killed the plan to have the new owner keep the store running under the same name.
CTV Calgary’s calls to the landlord were not returned. The owner of Soul to Sole denied CTV’s request for an on-camera interview but stated they are committed to providing quality service and employment opportunities to the community.
With files from CTV’s Chris Epp
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