Fields reopens for business

Fields department stores in Port Hardy and Port McNeill have reopened after being purchased by FHC Holdings Ltd.

Less than two months after being told their jobs were going to disappear, employees of the Fields department stores in Port Hardy and Port McNeill have gained a bit of job security.

Last week, Vancouver-based FHC Holdings Ltd. announced its purchase of 57 Fields stores province-wide. The outlets are among those that had been slated for closure by the previous owner, Hudson’s Bay Company.

“We’re definitely excited to be part of the community and staying involved there,” said Jason McDougall, president of FHC. “It’s a great group of people and it’s a privilege to be involved with them.”

Instead of shuttering their doors for good, the North Island’s two stores reopened May 1 as FHC properties after only a four-day closure for inventory reconciliation.

The purchase of the stores will preserve at least 10 jobs that stood to go by the wayside had the stores shut down.

Not all locations were as fortunate. The FHC Holdings purchase did not include Vancouver Island stores located in Gold River and Ladysmith. And the purchase included only a portion of the 140-plus Fields stores across Canada.

The chain, purchased by HBC in 1981 and expanded aggressively in the last decade, included 26 Ontario stores which were closed in February this year. The rest of the stores had been scheduled for a phased series of closures ending this fall, until FHC Holdings stepped in.