|Photo: Bruce Edwards|
Western Canada's oldest independent newsstand in Edmonton is...reopening? For those of us who have become used to the attrition of indy newsstands and bookstores, the planned relaunch of Hub Cigar (founded 1910) in the Old Strathcona district is an amazing and heartening development, even if the new owners don't seem quite sure of what the future holds or if they will still be in business a decade from now.
According to a story in the Edmonton Journal the new owners, which includes previous owner Hal Roseberg (it's complicated), plan a grander opening in a while, but will have a "soft opening" on May 12; they're ordering new stock and cigars.
The store has been closed for several months after the most recent owner Steven Cleall became ill.
“I was trying to sell the business for Steven Cleall, and I had no bites on it,” said Roseberg. “Whoever was interested seemed to have fallen by the wayside. I just sort of felt bad. I don’t know why, but I felt some responsibility. I didn’t want Hub to become another distant Edmonton memory.”
Roseberg feels the magazine business will remain viable for five to 10 years, despite the increasing role of digital technology in media consumption of all kinds.
“I think there’s still a market for printed media. If you’re in the bathtub, you don’t want to have your laptop sitting on your chest,” he said. “I think anybody that’s over 30, probably, still likes to have some magazines coming around.”
Hub Cigar was well-known for stocking difficult-to-find publications, including a very wide range of magazines (reportedly 6,000 titles). The business even survived a 2005 fire that destroyed the original store on Whyte Avenue
“Hub’s got a pretty dedicated clientele,” [Roseberg] said. “I just thought, you know, it’s worth giving it one more go before I’m satisfied it’s not going to work.”