Mr. Popper’s Sweet Shoppe is closing after 14-years in business. Store manager, Vicky Gautreau said the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue operating the business.
“With COVID, it’s not only the store, it’s me. I’m at the age where I need to slow down, think about my own health, and my own way of going now,” she said.
COVID-19 has resulted in the cancellation of annual events like the Ladysmith Show ‘n’ Shine, Arts on the Avenue, and likely the Ladysmith Festival of Lights. Those events generated significant business for Mr. Popper’s that the shop relied on to stay afloat.
“One Show ‘n’ Shine… I did over $1,000 in ice cream. I can’t make up for that loss,” Gautreau said.
As the pandemic took hold of B.C., Gautreau closed Mr. Popper’s from March 18 to mid-June. Gautreau did her best to preserve whatever product she could during the closure. Gatureau donated several bags of candy, kettle corn, and chips to the LRCA Food Bank to prevent it from going to waste.
Gautreau started at the shop in October 2012. Gautreau is well known in Ladysmith for her kind heart, and sweet spot for children.
“I’m going to miss my kids,” Gautreau said, as she fought back tears. “I’m going to miss my kids so much. I have a very special relationship with the kids in Ladysmith.”
“Every one of my customers that comes in here is special.”
Over the years, Gautreau has watched the kids of Ladysmith grow up from behind the counter of Mr. Popper’s. They start out little, then get bigger, and bigger each year until their taller than Gautreau herself.
Since Gautreau announced the closure of Mr. Popper’s, she’s had a lot of feedback from the community about how shocked people are.
“I’ve gotten a lot of reaction on the internet… Adults have come in and said ‘no, you can’t do that’, but I have to do it,” Gautreau said.
Although she will no longer be at Mr. Popper’s, Gautreau plans to remain active in the Ladysmith community, and continue spreading kindess to everyone she meets.
“I want to thank everybody. Young, old, middle, rich, poor, ice cream, candies, thanks everybody for coming,” she said.