One of North Bay's most iconic stores, Lefebvre's Source For Adventure on Shirreff Ave. has been sold, and it's owners, Jerry and Pat Lefebvre are retiring.
After much consideration, and a lot of "putting it off' the couple says the store has been sold to a pair of North Bay brothers, Aaron and Andrew Busch.
“It’s been in my family for that long, “says Jerry with twinges of emotion evident as he announced, “Grandpa, Frank Lefebvre Sr. started it all in 1913 and it’s been the love of our lives ever since!”
Jerry bought the bustling outdoor adventure store from his Dad, Frank Lefebvre Jr., and his family in 1977. “We’ve never looked back, it was what we knew and loved, and it’s no secret, it’s treated us very well!”
They were “over the moon” excited when they found that the two brothers wanted to take over the business.
“We are so thrilled that they’ll keep the name, keep the honesty and integrity in place and carry our family’s business on into the future!”
The business was formerly located at 122 Main St. W. but a massive fire in January 2012 destroyed the interior of the building and all its contents.
Minus 20ºC temperatures along with the heavy fire load in the building meant added difficulty for the crews fighting the fire that night.
At the top of the building, which sits in what was once known as the Cochrane Block, indicates the historical building was erected in 1911.
They would not return.
"After 18 months of deferrals, delays and constant negotiation with the insurer, the businesses have been left with no option" Lefebvre announced.
“it was a very difficult decision. We’re a third-generation owner of a family business and we’ve operated in the downtown core for over 100 years. We tried everything to get back to our downtown location, but there has been roadblock after roadblock. As we continued to face obstacles from the insurer, we had to make the decision to focus on the location we have now.”
But now the new owners, Aaron and Andrew Busch seem ready to stay the course.
"They tell us they are quite happy with what exactly Lefebvre’s Source for Adventure is today, changes will be improvements as times change. They are quite clear that established customers will hardly notice those changes as we maintain the established dedication to good service, expert product knowledge, and of course – the best products for fun and recreation the world has to offer.”
Lefebvre’s Source For Adventure will close tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14 to prepare for a major inventory reduction which will begin Thursday 11 a.m. sharp.
“It’s a remarkable thing for a locally owned and operated business of this sort to continue so successfully. In these days of transition to “supersize” stores and major conglomerates taking over businesses as they do”, said Andrew Busch.
He points out that one of the greatest features of this well-established business is that it’s affiliated with stores just like it throughout the country "so it has that advantage of large volume retailer while being a down-home store!.”
Brother Aaron will manage the day to day operations.
Both Busch brothers live and raise families in the North Bay area, and plan to be here till their retirement.
“Will we make 43 years as Pat and Jerry have?” asks Aaron. "Don’t know, we’ll have to see – gotta give it a shot!”
A ceremony and community barbecue will take place later this month when Jerry will hand over the keys to the Busch Brothers.
"You’ll want to catch up with Jerry Lefebvre that day, not only is he quite an entertaining guy, (and well known local guitarist) he has great stories about the 'hostage-taking' incident and of course, the very sad but dramatic just the same, original store being completely destroyed by fire in 2012."