EDITORIAL: The end of an era for Terra Nova Shoes

Melissa Jenkins melissa.jenkins@tc.tc
Published on July 15, 2014
Melissa Jenkins
Photo by Terry Roberts

For many of those who work at Terra Nova Shoes in Harbour Grace, it is the end of an era with the company that started their long careers.

In fact, it should be that for the entire region - the end of an era.

The factory that has been a staple in the town for more than four decades is set to close in November (see related story on page A1 of the July 14 print edition of The Compass). It has been owned by Kodiak Group Holdings Co. since 2005.

But why the end of an era?

According to the provincial government, absolutely nothing could be done to prevent the closure. Offers from the government to negotiate were turned down, and explanations were minimal.

In a nutshell, the explanation is that Kodiak "can't afford it."

One of the biggest brands in work footwear, with some priced at up to $300, can't afford to keep a facility open?

That's their story, and they're sticking to it.

The Compass was denied information last week from Kodiak on whether or not the plant was profitable. Not even a yes or no.

Kodiak is a private company, so it's something we may never know, although the answers are now irrelevant.

And now, 86 employees - who will be nicely compensated by the way - will not have positions when the doors close.

The fact is Terra Nova Shoes will be gone from Harbour Grace in four-and-a-half short months, and many of those displaced employees, who have been employed there their whole working lives, will have to start over. This includes those close to retirement.

This is not the concern of Kodiak. They'll move operations to Cambridge and save a few bucks. But they have also offered to pay workers to relocate ... on a case-by-case basis, and only if positions are available there.

Like many other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians before them, employees of the plant who do not relocate will bounce back. Harbour Grace is in the midst of a comback with a new stadium, expanding businesses and a strong local bond with some of the marine companies in town. It's a blow, but eventually it will be a memory.

Eventually, another business will replace Terra Nova Shoes, but by that time, the residents of the Town of Harbour Grace and those from surrounding areas will have moved on.

And at that time, that new business will be icing on the cake.

melissa.jenkins@tc.tc