The iconic facade at Mike's General Store on St. Anne's Road will be changing as the shop's owners transition into retirement after 42 years.
One year ago, Mike and Barb Huen announced that their open sign would be flipped open for the last time on Friday at their 52 St. Annes Road shop. COVID-19 stresses, health issues, and rising land prices have created the perfect storm for Mike Huen and his wife Barb to retire last week.
"When I first started in 1979, I never expected to be doing this 42 years later," Mike says. "I have to say it was a wonderful career. I thank all my friends and customers, and the great people we've met."
He says he loved getting up and going to work each morning, but it was the perfect time to retire. Mike and Barb are at work clearing out the rest of the shop, expecting it to take at least a year before they can sell the building with its well-known facade.
The building's iconic mural first began in 1999 when an image of a woman pushing a pram appeared. After 20 years of constant work, it last had a paintbrush touch it in 2019. The iconic mural will remain up with the building for the year, but Mike expects that to change once they sell.
"My best guess is that they will probably put a bulldozer through it," Mike says. "I just don't want to be here the day the bulldozer goes through it."
The shop has had many memorable moments including many celebrities walking through their doors and being an appraiser on Canadian Antiques Roadshow. But, Mike says, one moment decades ago stands out the most to Mike. "The last 26 have been the best years of my life. That is when I met my wife, Barb. We work side-by-side in the store."
The duo will be moving their inventory online, expecting to open their doors in the summer for a sale.