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Kitchener outdoor store set to close after 40 years

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When one adventure ends, a new one begins. But this one is bittersweet.

Kitchener outdoor store Adventure Guide is getting ready to close its doors for good after 40 years.

From kayaking, camping, hiking or hitting the snow-covered hills, the store has been Waterloo Region’s hub for outdoor activity.

Owner Mike Furey has been a part of that journey since 1989, working his way up along the way.

“I started working on the sales floor so I was doing the basic fundamental job of every store -- dealing with customers on a daily basis,” said Furey.

Furey and his wife eventually bought the store from the previous owners in 2002.

He’s seen the business make multiple moves and improvements throughout the decades.

“The [current space] is 14,000 sq. ft. We went from just under 3,000 sq. ft. to about 8,000 sq. ft. and jumped up to this,” he said.

Adventure Guide has been Waterloo Region's hub for outdoor activity for 40 years. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV Kitchener)

The store has adapted to changing consumer interests, but those interests and habits have shifted recently.

“The customer traffic has gone down slightly over the last couple of years,” Furey said.

From a rise in online shopping to a struggling post-pandemic economy, those are just some of the factors contributing to the decision to close.

“We're closing the store permanently. I'm going to retire. This is fundamentally a retirement sale,” the 60-year-old owner said.

“We're closing the store permanently. I'm going to retire. This is fundamentally a retirement sale,” says owner Mike Furey. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV Kitchener)

A lot has changed for Adventure Guide but one thing that has remained the same is their attention to customer service.

“We always got the products we needed and if they didn't have them, they would order them,” one customer told CTV News Tuesday. “If it didn't work for you, if it wasn't right, they didn't try to sell it to you.”

Longtime staff members will miss the loyal customers just as much as they’ll be missed.

“It's nice to help people when they're going on interesting trips. So you get to talk to them and work them through coming in, thinking what they want and then what they actually need,” said longtime employee Mike Allen.

While some staff members are unsure of what they’ll do next, they say they will never forget this adventure.

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