Bob Martin’s Golf & Fashions Locks Doors
Bob Martin’s Golf, Canada’s oldest golf retailer and London’s last remaining independent golf retailer, shut its doors for good this morning. A sign in the store window at Wharncliffe and Wonderland roads thanks customers for their business.
Bob Martin, who operates his golf range adjacent to the now-defunct Bob Martin’s Golf retail location, opened the store bearing his name in 1963. It was one of Canada’s first off-course pro shops. The former Sunningdale Golf & Country Club assistant pro was the first managing professional at East Park Golf Gardens. He operated his pro shop at East Park during the golf seasons until 1977, when he took up permanent residence at the former William Street headquarters – a cozy 500-square-foot basement shop. He sold Bob Martin’s Golf and Fashions to Andy Marshall and Darren Allison in 2002, and in 2007 they moved into larger headquarters in southwest London.
Marshall and Allison told media it’s “too early to make a formal statement.” Said Martin of the store closing, “It’s too bad it happened. Andy, the owner, was a really good retailer and treated his people real well and the customer real well.” Added Martin, “It’s very challenging (running and indepenent golf shop today). The big companies are getting larger, and the independent is finding it very difficult. It’s just economics. People want to get everything at the right price. Even the companies are selling direct now.”
In the meantime, Lowe’s Canada will make a pitch to the City next week to open its doors on the same corner.