For the first time in decades, one of the most iconic storefronts on King Street will be owned by someone outside the Budd family.

The Budds property has largely sat empty since January, when the department store closed up after nearly 90 years of operation in downtown Kitchener.

Co-owner Howie Budd says the family has heard from many interested buyers and received several offers on the property since then, but didn’t find a good fit until recently.

“The concepts that those people had, we felt, just wouldn’t fit in,” he said in an interview.

“We would only sell it to somebody who would do something with the building that complements the vision … for the rejuvenation of the downtown.”

Budd says a satisfactory buyer has now come forward – someone who understands both the downtown’s burgeoning tech sector and its heritage.

“He respected our history, and he wanted a part of our history to continue on within the walls of the building,” Budd said.

“That meant a lot to us.”

The sale of the property is expected to close in July.

Budd’s son Jeff says he plans to keep the family’s retail legacy alive with a “pop-up department store” in downtown Kitchener later this year, as well as maintaining a presence in institutional bedding.

“I’ll be moving into a warehouse, and I plan on opening that warehouse to the public several times a year for some incredible deals,” he said.