Tim Kingsmill announces family-owned, 148-year-old London, Ontario store up for sale
Kingsmill's president planning for retirement
LONDON, ON, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Tim Kingsmill, president of Kingsmill's department store, announced today he has put the iconic family business up for sale.
Since 2003, Kingsmill has served in the role of store president, following in the footsteps of four generations of family before him. After 35 years in the retail business, Kingsmill has begun planning his retirement.
"This was a tremendously difficult decision to reach, and it is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement," said Kingsmill. "This type of transition must be carefully planned. Downtown London is thriving and Kingsmill's has a dynamic location in the midst of that excitement. The store continues to be successful, and as such, the time is now right for me to begin planning this next step."
Founded in 1865 as a dry goods store, Kingsmill's has been operating at its Dundas Street location in downtown London for all of its 148 years in business. It is one of the few remaining independent, family-owned and operated department stores in Canada, and after several renovations and store expansions, currently occupies more than 73,000 square feet over five separate floors.
Tim Kingsmill first started working in the store as a teenager and over the years held many roles before becoming president. He strived to maintain elements from a past era, while ensuring the store continued to evolve to achieve success in the world of modern-day retail. During his tenure, he has grown the business by overseeing store renovations and expansions, launched Kingsmill's into the realm of online shopping and led the store in establishing a presence on social media.
"Tim has been an incredible leader," said Fred Kingsmill, board chair of Kingsmill's and Tim's father. "He has ensured the store's continued success while respecting the values of quality and service that have always been so important to our family. I am tremendously proud of him and wish him nothing but the best as he begins to map out the next stage of his life."
"Though I will miss the store a great deal, I am eager to spend more time with my wife, Laurie, and my daughter, Emily," said Kingsmill. "I want to say a sincere thank-you to the staff, past and present who have helped make Kingsmill's the success that it is, and a huge thank-you to the previous Kingsmill generations for their dedication to building this wonderful business. I am especially grateful to the city of London and to our loyal customers for their unwavering support."
The store will continue normal operations and business hours as Kingsmill plans for his future.
"There is still work to be done. I am looking forward to continuing to run the store and work with our staff as I take the time to consider all available options over the coming months."
Kingsmill's - Store backgrounder
Kingsmill's is one of the oldest, family-owned and operated department stores in Canada.
In 1865 Thomas Frazer Kingsmill, an Irish immigrant, opened a dry goods store on Dundas Street in London, Ontario, Canada. The first store was 1,800 square feet. Today, the store occupies more than 73,000 square feet spread over five separate floors.
The store has burned down and been rebuilt twice during its 148-year history. The current building, built in 1932, features the original tin-plated ceilings and hardwood floors. The original pneumatic tube system is still used to send paperwork and change throughout the store, and the old-style elevator, complete with operator, continues to help customers get from floor to floor. These features have survived over the years in a conscious effort to maintain the character and elegance of the building.
A true department store, Kingsmill's offers home furnishings, fine china and collectibles, women's, men's and children's fashions, cosmetics, linens, gifts, kitchen ware, luggage and much more.
Despite many changes in product offerings over the years, the store's tradition of service and quality has remained intact. Winner of Canada's highest retail honour in 2010 - the Canadian Gift and Tableware Association's Overall Retailer of the Year Award - Kingsmill's is currently presided over by Timothy Frederick Kingsmill, fifth-generation of the Kingsmill family and great-great grandson of Thomas Frazer Kingsmill.
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