Downtown business owners focusing on revitalization in year ahead

Cory
Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  There is a renewed buzz around the downtown of Corner Brook, according to the chair of its business association.

Christina Tulk said it is an exciting time to be a business owner in the downtown area.

“We have certainly seen a lot more engagement in the businesses than the last couple of years,” she said. “People are excited. People are seeing differences in their sales numbers. There is a bit of a buzz that hasn’t been there in the last three-to-five years.”

That was not particularly the case in recent years, especially with such a consumer shift toward big box stores. That hasn’t been totally eliminated by any means, but Tulk said there is a noticeable difference as people are getting back to a focus on supporting the local business owner.

“From my experience, with the event we had on West Street, I heard from the people in the community that attended the event that we need to do more of this as a city,” she said. “... Sometimes it is easier to go to the bigger retailers for our shopping needs, but we have a very strong and very vital business district in the downtown as well.”

It has taken a conscious effort from business owners to see such a change. Last year, a number of events were held in an attempt to increase traffic in the downtown. Tulk feels Downtown Day, Back to Broadway, The Christmas Shopping Experience, and the Parade of Lights were effective attractions.

“Just by bringing people into the downtown, it serves as a reminder that there is not just local retailers, but there are service retailers as well,” she said.

While the Downtown Business Association partnered with the city to install lighting around lamp posts, discussions had started on a more significant revitalization. A sub-committee has been established, and more details are expected in the coming months.

Tulk compared it to the bricks and mortar project of the past, saying there will be some infrastructure changes in the downtown.

The association held its annual general meeting Wednesday. High on its priority list for the upcoming year will be the update and development of a new Strategic Management Plan for downtown.

churley@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: The Christmas Shopping Experience, Downtown Business Association

Geographic location: West Street, Broadway

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  • Citizen V
    June 04, 2013 - 07:40

    John, David, what do you suggest be done? Yes John there are a tonne of infrastructure problems that need to be addressed but by starting with the downtown core you drive consumers and businesses to that area and more money gets spent and more taxes get collected and then more work gets done. The one thing I don't understand about this so-called "strategy" is that everyone feels the need to take a swipe at the big-box stores. Folks, you may not like them but they do one thing smaller, locally owned businesses can't do... they employ people. A LOT OF PEOPLE. This city needs to find a balance between the locally owned businesses and the big box stores. I mean a Costco could easily employ 200 people. Two Hundred new jobs in Corner Brook??? Wow... that sounds like progress to me! Support local, shop local yes... but find a way to bring in more franchises as well and lets really get the economic ball rolling by providing people with work. Working people have money... that they spend... and that in turn creates more jobs! Why is that so hard to grasp???

    • david
      June 05, 2013 - 16:39

      You can hope to win the lottery...but you shouldn't expect to, count on it or plan your life around it. Hoping that Corner Brook's downtown "comes around" ----- after spending the past 3 decades making civic development decisions, both commercial and residential, that did not support ...or even consider.... the continued existence of a downtown at all (and in many instances served to undermine its continued viability) is just plain stupid. But that's the kind of "hope for the best, despite having put no thought or effort into it" approach that we use for most everything here. Other cities struggle mightily to revive their downtowns, and despite their best efforts often fail anyway. Here? Well, here we just sign a petition of support, then close our eyes and wish real hard --- for 5 Whole Minutes!!!

    • A.S. Morris
      July 28, 2013 - 18:30

      Citizen V...where the heck do you think the profits go? We as a nation need to be developing our own box stores instead of bringing in stores like Walmart (American) who do not pay very good wages and who do not treat their employees very well. Costco is foreign owned ( also American) and they abuse the people who produce their products in other poor countries. 2lst century innovation is the answer. Innovate ..... Canadian production by Canadians for Canadians and the profits stay in Canada..that is of course, if Canadians demand the government stop people from stashing profits over seas where they don;t have to pay taxes thereby not contributing to the infrastructure of their own country....there are losts of issues Canadians including Newfoundlanders need to be loud and clear about. Can you imagine what our country would be like if we took positive stands and demanded what the governments ought to be doing for the good of Canadians?

  • John
    June 03, 2013 - 17:58

    Rejuvinate the down town. A few lamps, twisty lights, some canopys, fancy brick sidewalks, proposed parking space for Park Street. Wa la instant economic prosperity when the boat people come each year. Its to bad the same innovative thinking could not be applied in our neighbourhoods like new sidewalks, new asphalt, new curbs and gutters . Why are we consumed with the betterment if the down town core while our neighbourhood s deteriorate? I will exercise my vote accordingly in the election this fall. All smoke and mirrors....

  • david
    June 03, 2013 - 11:16

    Two weeks ago, it was an editorial about the "parking problem" in Corner Brook. Last week, it was a story about the plan to keep growing Massey Drive. Today, it's "rejuvenate the downtown". Is everyone here really this stupid?