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'Our hearts are broken': Glace Bay gift shop closing its doors after nearly 40 years in business


After nearly 40 years in business, Brenda and Mel Bryden are saying goodbye to their customers and their store.

The mom-and-pop style shop has been a fixture in Glace Bay, N.S., but the business has not be able to bounce back from the pandemic.

“Our business in the gift line is anniversary, weddings, baby showers, retirement parties, and they just weren't happening,” said Brenda Bryden.

The husband and wife team has seen a steady stream of businesses close over the years in downtown Glace Bay.

“Our hearts aren't where they should be. They're broken that we have to do it this way. It would have been better if we can sell it, but it’s not feasible for us to offer it to someone under the circumstances,” said Mel Bryden.

Mel's Gift and Trophies has been the backbone of many community events, offering engraved messages for every occasion.

It's work that Brenda Bryden takes great pride in.

“I remember when we first opened. Mel said we're going to open a store and you're going to learn to engrave, but I didn't know how, but I learned and today I’m very proud of what I do,” she said.

Relationships were formed over the years with community members and their customers.

“When a person dies now, we have to go to their funeral, because we felt like we're a part of their family now. It's a sad for us all here in town,” said Mel Bryden.

The Brydens feel the pandemic has pushed people to shop online and that has left mom-and-pop style shops like theirs behind.

“And then there's older people who are a little nervous to come to town by themselves, so it's a lot of little things that have added up to what it is right now,” said Brenda Bryden.

The remaining stock has been reduced and the store will remain open until everything is sold.

“She wanted to start it prior to Christmas, rather than after Christmas, to give her loyal customers a break on Christmas items. It's tough out there right now for everybody,” said Mel Bryden.

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