Pair of Cape Breton businesses soon to close downtown Sydney storefronts


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SYDNEY, N.S. — A pair of Charlotte Street businesses have announced plans to close their Sydney storefronts this month.

On Jan. 6, Port City Grocery co-owners Kat Gouthro-Burke and Devon Burke released a statement via its Facebook account. They announced Port City would close its doors later in January, an announcement they said was unexpected for them.

Two days later, Lillian Company made a similar announcement via social media that it would soon close. A later post stated the physical store would open every Friday and Saturday for the rest of the month — the last day being Jan. 27. 

Lillian Company, which makes clothing, candles and other decorative items, said it plans to continue making items for online sale or in other stores.

Lillian Company owner Faith Johnston Gray and husband Rob Gray accept a Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce award in 2022 for “favourite place to shop.” The store will close its physical storefront on Charlotte Street on Jan. 27. Johnston Gray said the birth of her daughter has led her to shift plans for the business, which will remain open online. CONTRIBUTED/FAITH JOHNSTON GRAY – CONTRIBUTED/FAITH JOHNSTON GRAY

Shifting focus to online

In the store’s online statement, owner Faith Johnston Gray said the closure wasn’t a result of a lack of support. 

“Rest assured, our brand ‘Lillian Company’ remains firmly in place. Soon, you’ll spot our products in stores across and beyond the island!” it said.

Johnston Gray told the Post the birth of her daughter nine months ago was a major reason behind the physical store’s closure, adding motherhood and the responsibilities coming with the store felt like two full-time jobs.

“When I’m home I feel guilty for not being at the store. When I’m at the store, I feel guilty for not being home. With that, we knew it was time for a change and are excited for the future,” she said.

Opening in 2021, the physical store includes a collection of items from other Cape Breton-based businesses, alongside Lillian Co.’s in-house products.

Over time, Johnston Gray said her business has plans to keep involved in the small business community and help promote other vendors as her Charlotte Street store had. She hopes

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