Honest Ed's, iconic Toronto discount store, up for sale
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:41PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:05PM EDT
Adorned with cringe-worthy posters and a massive theatre-style marquee that uses some 23,000 light bulbs, Honest Ed’s is an unmistakeable retail icon in Toronto.
But the store could soon be no more.
The landmark discount department store has been put up for sale, according to Russell Lazar, the store’s general manager – however, no deals have been “put to pen,” he told CTV Toronto.
The sale of the 160,000 square foot store which occupies a stretch of Bloor Street from Bathurst Street to Markham Street, as well as some surrounding land owned by the Mirvish family, is expected to fetch about $100 million.
Lazar is confident owner David Mirvish, son of founder Ed, will find the right buyer for the property.
“It’s part of (Ed’s) legacy,” he told CTV Toronto. “(David will) do the right thing.”
Honest Ed’s first opened in 1948 by Ed Mirvish after cashing in his wife’s insurance policy.
The store, which boasted rock-bottom prices, was an instant hit.
“He opened his store on a Saturday, and watched a torrent of customers pour in – the store was mobbed,” notes the retailer’s website. “It was the opening day of Honest Ed’s.”
The store has since become just as famous for its chintzy, hand-painted signs – “Honest Ed’s a slob! He’s dropping prices all over” – as it is for its confusing, labyrinth-style layout that truly puts Ikea to shame.
With the success of the store, Mirvish later expanded his business empire to include real estate and a theatrical production company.
Before his death in 2007, Mirvish was also known for his acts of charity. Each year the entrepreneur handed out free turkeys outside of the store before Christmas and Thanksgiving.
With equal parts indifference and nostalgia, fans of the store shared their favourite memories on social media: