walking on a cloud

Toronto shoe store shut down after owing $38k in rent

Staff at a prime Toronto location of Canadian footwear retailer Walking On A Cloud, forced to close its doors in November as part of provincial lockdown orders, have now been booted from the premises for rent arrears.

The family owned and operated business, which currently has 13 locations across the city according to its website, has been unable to pay more than $38,000 of accrued rent at its King and Yonge location in the financial district.

The usually bustling area has been eerily quiet since the trend of work-from-home began back in March, and countless storefronts — most of them now only able to operate via curbside pickup and delivery — have been completely destroyed as a result.

A member of the family behind the company told blogTO that they're still waiting on money from the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program to help stay afloat amid plummeting sales.

They also added that this isn't the first time they've been locked out of their own store by their landlord, who hasn't provided them any leeway despite the current landscape.

walking on a cloud

The sign posted in the window of Walking on a Cloud at 67 Yonge Street. Submitted by Richard. Fernandes.

"These are very difficult times and we have taken pride in always paying our bills (leases, vendors, etc.) and have always been excellent tenants," Lori Vella says.

"COVID, however, has hit us hard... our sales in this location dropped over 95 per cent during the pandemic, even when doors were open."

A notice posted in the window of the store by the landlord and their legal representation warns the Vellas that if they do not pay the overdue rent — which includes a $1776.90 "distress" charge — within five days of Jan. 19, the contents of the store will be appraised and sold "toward satisfaction of rent."

As of Jan. 22, the owners are unsure of when or even if they will be allowed back onto the property. Though the closure may indeed be permanent, for now, they're hoping that it will only be temporary, despite an unforgiving landlord.

"We will wait and see what happens," Vella says.

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