PRINCE ALBERT -- A second generation furniture store in Prince Albert is closing.

Paul Houle opened Houle Furniture in 1952 and for nearly seven decades it’s been a fixture in downtown Prince Albert.

Marty Houle, 56, announced the closure to the public on March 8, with a closing-out sale. Houle and his business partner Joanne Lukan, sold the building to a buyer from Toronto.

“We never really knew when we put (the building) up for sale what we’d get,” Houle said. “Sad in some ways to go, but happy we’re able to get out while we’re still healthy.”

Houle said the store’s income was somewhat affected by the downturn in the economy and online shopping, however, the pandemic wasn’t a factor in their decision to sell. In the last year, he saw a resurgence of business with more people shopping local.

“We have been very busy because we offer a very customized furniture buying opportunity because our people are very knowledgeable in what we sell,” Houle said.

Houle Furniture stretched over 15,000 sq.ft., over three levels and is one of the last department stores in Prince Albert’s downtown to have a second-floor showroom.

CEO of the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce, Elise Hildebrandt, said most businesses reported an increase in local business in the last year as shoppers continue to do their best to support local.

“It’s sad to see some of the businesses that helped create this community close,” Hildebrandt said. “It will be exciting to see what comes into that space and see what they’re going to do with it.”

Houle said he will lease the building for the next several months and anticipates being closed by the end of the summer.

Houle Furniture in Melfort closed last year and with this recent sale Houle said he’s not sure what he’ll do next.