City Hall News is only six months away from its centennial, but owner Bob Streeter, 73, won’t be around to celebrate.
Originally opened in 1915, Victoria’s largest selection of newspapers and magazines have been in the hands of the Streeter family since Bob’s father bought the store in the mid-50s. Looking to retire, but unable to let go of the shop, he sold it to his son, a pipefitter by trade who had grown weary of working in camps.
Spending his last few weeks in the shop, Streeter pins the closing on the decline of the print industry, as well as nearby offices being consolidated by the provincial government, which he estimates has cost him around 300 customers over the past year. On top of a fading clientele, Streeter was diagnosed with cancer in January.
“I guess you could say the writing was on the wall,” he jokes.
City Hall News carries publications on nearly every issue, “even ukelele.” Of the 3,500 titles carried by his supplier, Streeter boasts that most of them have a spot on his shelves.
“I’ve always tried to supply what the people want,” says Streeter. “If there’s somebody out there looking for it, I need to have it.”
While Streeter has no serious plans for retirement, he hopes to spend time in New Zealand or England, partly for the fish and chips. He says he’ll miss his customers the most.
“I’ve had customers come in to tell me how much they appreciated the store, and that they won’t be able to get their favourite magazine anymore,” says Streeter. “It’s been really nice.”