It is a tough week in the Barrhaven business community as an iconic Ottawa gamily business has closed.
The House of Cheese first opened in Ottawa in 1975. The store brought a unique selection of domestic and international cheeses, deli meats, crackers, jellies, mustards and gift baskets.
The Barrhaven location was opened in the fall of 2018. When it opened, Brad Joyal told the Barrhaven Independent he was excited about expanding the business to Barrhaven, as he had been looking for an opportunity to bring the business to the community for quite some time.
Joyal passed away in February, 2022 after suffering a heart attack. His wife, Victoria, tried to keep the business going under the most difficult of circumstances, both at the personal level and with the obstacles the business faced in the current economy.
“My husband, Brad Joyal, was under a lot of stress due to the Covid situation (lack of customers) as well as the Trucker Convoy, that inevitably closed our Byward location for several days, causing a huge financial strain on the business,” Joyal told CTV News in an email.
“On February 17th, 2022, Brad suffered a major heart attack and passed away due to the amount of financial stress that he was under.
“Since Brad’s passing, I took a leave of absence from work to keep both store locations running and I tried my best to sell both locations. Due to the economic situation of the pending recession and the increasing interest rates, that endeavor was impossible.”
The business was located on Strandherd Drive near the Barrhaven Costco.
“The past 10 months have been very difficult on myself and my family,” Joyal told CTV. “I appreciated the Barrhaven community supporting my husband over the past 4 years and I’m sorry that we are in this position.”
While many businesses were able to survive COVID because of various business grants and loans available from various levels of government, the last calendar year has been particularly difficult for small businesses. Many retail businesses have not seen a full return of their customer base since COVID-19 as many developed other shopping habits. Issues like supply chain shortages, inflation, high interest rates and a drastic increase in fuel prices triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine have also led to a difficult 2022 and another projected difficult year ahead.
Photo: Barrhaven House of Cheese is closing after four years in business in Barrhaven and 47 years in the Byward Market. (Barrhaven BIA photo)