Progress drives closing – By IAN GILLESPIE – London Freepress

In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t much. Most people probably won’t notice, and those who do will quickly move on.

And it seems slightly absurd to bemoan the passing of a Tim Hortons coffee shop — particularly in a city which, if you count the booths that have sprung up in food courts, hospitals and other facilities (UWO alone has about 17), is home to nearly 70 of the ubiquitous java joints.

But still, I think it’s a sad reflection of the pell-mell pace of our times.

On July 20, the Tim Hortons coffee shop at Wharncliffe and Cove roads — one of the few remaining sites without a drive-through — will close after 23 years.

Why?

Owner Gary Mitchell — who owns a handful of other Tim Hortons franchises around London, including the double drive-through located nearby at Byron Avenue — didn’t return my calls.

That’s understandable. Tim Hortons is a corporation that holds tightly to the reins of public relations. And in light of the negative press that exploded after the Free Press reported a local Tim Hortons’ employee was fired for giving a free Timbit to a child, you can understand Mitchell’s reluctance to talk to me.

So my call was returned by a Nick Javor, Tim Hortons’ senior vice-president of corporate affairs.

According to Javor, the main reason the Cove Road shop is closing is that it doesn’t have enough space for on-site baking, which means the doughnuts and muffins must be delivered daily.

“That particular size and space doesn’t allow for what Tim Hortons needs from a baking and storage perspective,” says Javor. “I’ll tell you straight up that the volume (of business) at the store doesn’t economically allow it to carry on without a total reconfiguration.”

Javor says another reason for the Cove Road closing is the proximity of other Tim Hortons — including ones at Byron Avenue, Baseline Road and Springbank Drive.

“It’s not uncommon that Tims will close a store because half a kilometre away we’ve got a better-functioning site with a drive-through, better parking, better access and better visibility,” he says.

So isn’t the closing of the Cove Road shop connected to the fact that it lacks a drive-through?

“No,” says Javor. “It’s just past its prime.”

Maybe.

But Cove Road resident Sharon Collett is one customer who says she’ll miss the sit-down shop that, with its outdoor picnic tables and bird feeders, provided neighbours with a laid-back oasis of calm.

“The same two gentlemen are there every morning and they greet everybody who comes in,” she says. “And in the summertime, everyone’s out at the picnic tables chit-chatting.

“I just think it’s a shame to close one of the very few ones that doesn’t have a drive-through.”

I have to agree. And I have to lament the fact that in our accelerated era, few of us take the time anymore to just . . . slow . . . down. And savour a simple pleasure.

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Columnists/Gillespie_Ian/2008/07/11/6126801-sun.html

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