Capital Iron, the Store Street icon that closed its doors on Dec. 17 of 2022 only to be bought by a new owner the next year, is gearing up for its anticipated grand re-opening in spring.
“We were supposed to open in September of 2023 but have postponed a few times. We are on track now for early spring,” said new owner Fred Aram.
“A lot of people are very excited to see Capital Iron coming back. We have people who keep looking through the windows or if they see us in front of the store they ask us questions,” he said.
The original company operated downtown for almost 90 years, becoming a familiar trove for outdoor equipment, patio furniture, hardware and antiques.
Previous owner Mike Black, who later opened a second store in Langford, closed both stores due to issues such as staff shortages and rapid inflation, he told Black Press in a previous interview.
After purchasing the name, website and rights to the Capital Iron brand, Aram initially planned to find a new location until city council expressed interest in seeing it reopen in its original space.
Aram then negotiated a lease with Reliance Properties.
Aram, who also owns West Coast Appliance Gallery, is currently overseeing the finishing renovations to showcase his own iteration of the business – a super-sized home store – to the public.
“In terms of the ambiance and the feeling that they will get, we’ve tried to keep the old feeling as much as we could. But there is going to be a lot of different products than what there were before.”
The new Capital Iron will make use of all four floors totalling 45,000 square feet.
“It will be the largest homestore on Vancouver Island for sure … providing a one-stop-shop for almost anything that people need for their house, indoor-outdoor,” Aram said.
A good chunk of the business – almost the entire lower floor – will still be allocated to barbeques, alongside grills and hot tubs.
On the main floor, customers will find indoor appliances and built-in kitchens.
The second floor contrasts the most with the old Capital Iron. It is dedicated to indoor furniture and mattresses. The third floor will be outdoor furniture.
“It’s a massive difference, from floors, colours, layout, sales desk, computer locations, everything has changed,” Aram said.
“It’s a high-end yet eclectic department home store, respecting history,” he said, adding that the historic feeling will remain and the interior style will be the type of store one would be likely to see in the older part of Montreal or Europe.
Reliance Properties currently owns the Store Street building as part of 6.7 acres of downtown which is set to be one of the biggest developments in Victoria.
Considering Capital Iron is in one of three designated heritage sites in the development area, the business will be allowed to remain in the area.
Gearing up for the opening, Capital Iron is looking to employ 25 to 35 employees and currently taking applications for sales, administration and logistics warehouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Even though it’s going to be different – a lot of old products like army surplus, or small hardware is not going to be part of it – it’s still going to be iconic and part of the heritage identity of the city and I’m hoping people will embrace it the same way they did the old Capital Iron.”