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Hi! Neighbour, a downtown Windsor staple, is moving to a new neighbourhood

·3 min read
After more than 75 years of business in its original location, Hi! Neighbour Floor Covering Company is moving to a new location.  (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
After more than 75 years of business in its original location, Hi! Neighbour Floor Covering Company is moving to a new location. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

Hi! Neighbour is leaving its original neighbourhood for a new location this summer.

The well-known flooring company, located on Wyandotte Street East, has found a new home on Pillette Road, just south of Tecumseh Road East.

"We've outgrown our spot and need to move into something larger," said Erik Rorseth, co-owner of the store.

Rorseth and his partner Terry Darbyson bought the store in 2014, after its original owner, Steven Shanbon, died.

"He would be very happy. It's really a great opportunity to take this business to a new level. That was one of his goals as well and he basically channeled us into this business to make sure we could take it over and grow it," Rorseth said.

The company's current location on Wyandotte Street East is about 10,000 square feet, however, its new location is more than double that. The company says it needs the added warehouse space as well as an expanded parking lot.

Jacob Barker/CBC
Jacob Barker/CBC

'Community staple'

Hi! Neighbour has been a long-time community staple in Windsor since its inception as a store.

It opened in 1945 as a plumbing and hardware store and eventually expanded into the city's big box floor warehouse in the 1970s.

According to Rorseth, the store has developed a sense of nostalgia within the community.

"Its been generation, after generation, after generation that come into this store," he said. "A lot of people that come in don't even know the name of this store. They just come in because their parents did or their grandparents, even."

Disappointed residents

Neighbourhood residents told CBC News that they are disappointed with the move.

"I really don't like the idea, but if they need the bigger space, then I believe their best option would be to move to a bigger area," said Joe Hillman, an employee of a nearby business.

Lino Lo-Medico, a Windsor Assembly Plant employee, grew up in the neighbourhood.

"My dad had a barber shop right across the street and every time we'd go for a walk, we'd see people shopping. This place has been popular for a very long time," said Lo-Medico.

Lo-Medico understands the need for a new location, but said he is disappointed with the decision.

"It's a double edged sword, right? You know, you have to do what you have to do to move your business forward," said Lo-Medico.

Hi! Neighbour will move to its new location in late July or early August.

Meanwhile, Rorseth and Darbyson are fondly remembering the space, recalling memories that stem back to when they first got hired on as teenagers.

"Terry and I were both just coming out of school and honestly I don't know if we thought we would end up in the flooring business, but Steven brought us on and as long as we worked hard and had interest, he was more than willing to make us part of the company and promised us a good future and we found it with Hi! Neighbour flooring," said Rorseth.

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