Celebrating 50 Years of Service
Congratulations Aurora on 150 Years! We are proud to have grown with you!
The Aurora Shopping Centre: Celebrating 50 Years of Service!
By: Tina Dealwis
If you live in Aurora, the Aurora Shopping Centre has probably been an important part of your weekly routine. For doing your weekly grocery shopping, updating your wardrobe, attending medical or dental appointments, or selecting your Christmas tree, the shopping centre has been a fixture in the community for more than half a century. And they are now celebrating serving generations of Aurora residents for more than 50 years!
The Aurora Shopping Centre is a family-owned and operated business that prides itself on going the extra mile for its customers. Originally built in 1961, it was purchased by Abram Merkur in 1964, and has been in the family ever since. Abram’s sons Froim and David Merkur later managed the business, with David eventually taking over. His daughter, Shauna Tepperman, has been running the business since 2007, with the day-to-day operations conducted by Sterling Karamar Property Management.
When the centre was first built, it was a much smaller complex, with stores only on the western side. “At the time, Aurora was just developing. It was really a quiet place, I think with a certain vision,” says Mrs. Tepperman. Stores such as Loblaws and A & F Elite Hair For Men have been key parts of the shopping centre since its beginnings.
As Aurora grew, so did the shopping centre. The Merkur family built several extensions for the shopping centre throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. From 2008-2009, the centre underwent a major renovation. “For many years, it looked like a typical 1950s-1960s shopping centre,” says Mrs. Tepperman. However, she adds that despite the new look, “People have been coming for generations and generations to our shopping centre. This place has vitality and a heart that really makes it Main St.”
The Aurora Shopping Centre is not just a typical plaza. With 35 businesses, and shop owners from around the world, it has both unique, individually-owned stores, and popular chain stores. It prides itself on being a clean, well-maintained, safe, pleasant place to shop, and has built its success on the Merkur family’s dedication—to the shopping centre, their customers, and store owners—and business owners who are passionate about providing stellar customer service. “There’s a lot of continuity, and that’s what makes our place so special,” says Mrs. Tepperman. “It’s a very friendly, very clean, safe environment, so seniors feel comfortable, high school students come from all over, and I think that’s our success. We’re not an indoor cookie-cutter mall…our merchants care about each other. You feel that, you really do feel that, and I think that’s why we’re so successful.”
The shopping centre also has a rich history of community and philanthropic involvement. The family has built strong relationships with both the police and fire departments. David Merkur also had a close working relationship with former Mayors John G. West and Tim M. Jones. In the mid-1970s, David Merkur started a special fund in the Town of Aurora called the Arts and Culture Fund. The Aurora Shopping Centre also provides two scholarships for high school graduates, and has undertaken many other charitable endeavours over the years.
As Aurora celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, the Aurora Shopping Centre celebrates alongside the town that it has been such a large part of. “We’ve been there for generations for everybody’s family, and we celebrate together with Aurora because we’ve grown and prospered together,” says Mrs. Tepperman. “We want to thank all the Aurora customers, and look forward to them enjoying our Shopping Centre and serving them.”