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'We're upset': Small businesses in Sackville, N.B., given lease termination notice

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For the past seven years, Miriam Lapp and her partner have run a small bookstore near Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

Just as they’re starting to thrive as a business, a letter came a week ago telling them a plan was in place to redevelop properties at 26, 28 and 30 York Street.

All leases, including the one for Blind Forest Books, will terminate next spring.

“We’re shocked. We’re upset. We’re a small family. My partner and I have three children. Last year we had paid off our business loans and we were really starting to get rolling,” said Lapp.

Lapp said she had heard rumours the properties were sold, but was still caught off guard by the news and feels as if she’s had the rug pulled out from underneath her.

The letter came from landowners Right Coast Realty, which is part of Atlantic Industries Limited (AIL).

In an email to CTV News, AIL vice-president of finance Wendy Alder confirmed notice has been given to all tenants effective April 30, 2025.

“I am not able to provide additional details at this time,” said Alder.

In total, four small businesses will have to move.

Shops like Sweet Yummyland and The Little Pantry have only been open on York Street for a few weeks.

Small businesses are pictured in Sackville, N.B.

“I can’t believe the poor people running the pantry just moved into this new space and now they’re moving out,” said Mount Allison University professor Carla VanBeselaere, a frequent customer. “They’ve been a wonderful boom to the economy here.”

VanBeselaere understands it’s a business transaction and the shop owners don’t own the property.

“I appreciate that redeveloping and re-vitalizing the town is important. It’s unfortunate though, the timing,” said VanBeselaere.

Mount Allison student Emma Beck often goes to the bookstore after work and after class.

“You get to know the people that work there and stuff like that. They’re just trying to make a business,” said Beck. “It’s a little disappointing.”

A sign for The Little Pantry shop in Sackville, N.B.

The owners of the other three businesses involved politely declined to be interviewed by CTV News, but Cackling Goose Market co-owner Amanda Feindel said it will definitely have an impact on her business too.

“Absolutely. We’ve sort of become really proud of York Street in Sackville here over the last decade or so. Lots of little businesses have popped up and sort of made a nice spot for people to walk along and look in unique shops. Not your usual big box stores. We all offer different services. Different flavours. Yeah, we’re definitely going to miss the businesses along here,” said Feindel.

Lapp is hoping to relocate, but thinks finding a new space will be difficult, even with 11 months notice.

“People come to Sackville because we have all these cool little shops,” said Lapp. “What’s it going to be like if they’re gone? It’s such a part of the community.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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