FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DOWNTOWN PARTNERS TAKE FIRST STEPS IN BRINGING NEW RETAILERS AND VIBRANCY TO CITY’S CORE
WINNIPEG, MB–– Mountain Equipment Co-op, Moi Boutique, Rink Side and Samurai Japanese restaurants, Cake Clothing and Candie and Dolls–these are the types of unique stores that are vital to downtown shopping. Now combine those with retailers and restaurants we’ve all seen as we travel across Canada like Forever 21, Jack Astor’s Grill and Purr Clothing, and downtown becomes the place to shop in Winnipeg. The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, along with CentreVenture Development Corporation, the City of Winnipeg, The Forks North Portage Development Corporation and the Exchange District BIZ, has developed a plan to support existing retailers and attract new ones with the Downtown Retail Retention and Recruitment Strategy.
“This strategy is part of the foundation to restoring the glory of Portage Avenue and downtown,” says Ross McGowan, president and CEO of CentreVenture. “Attracting the appropriate retail mix to downtown will signal a change in attitude and business focus.”
Three years ago, New York-based MJB Consulting–a leader in North American downtown development strategies–did an extensive analysis of Winnipeg’s retail market. The resulting report, released in 2009, outlined a comprehensive plan for three targeted downtown areas–the Exchange District, Portage Avenue and Graham Avenue. The report provides suggestions of both specific examples and the types of retailers that might be open to recruitment to downtown Winnipeg.
“With this strategy, we can attract retailers to downtown and outline the specific advantages to them,” says Steven Paulus of Avison Young. “It is an essential marketing tool offering ideas on incentives and positioning strategies for key downtown districts.”
The Exchange District was identified through its “cool factor”, “casual-chic” atmosphere and the need to balance its hipster (creative pioneers of the revived Exchange) demographic with an emerging yupster (a yuppie hipster hybrid) population.
Portage Avenue offers a combination of opportunities for larger retail brands exclusive to downtown and “cheap-chic” fashion stores specializing in trends. Combined with Portage’s entertainment venues such as dining, concerts, sports, events and hotels, it has the potential to become a complete destination for visitors and residents.
Portage Place is very excited in the direction that this retail strategy is going to take downtown,” says Dave Stone, general manager of Portage Place. “It provides us all with a clear vision and a solid strategy to bring the downtown core back to prominence.”
And finally, Graham Avenue is characterized for its ability to showcase Winnipeg’s multi-culturism through immigrant- and minority-oriented businesses that highlight the city’s diversity.
The BIZes and CentreVenture will work together in advocating for the implementation phase as outlined in the report that includes hiring a recruiter/coordinator, coordinating meetings with landlords/brokers, development of an available spaces database and advocating for the right tools to address structural challenges retailers face in operating downtown when compared to other parts of the city.
“This plan is a vital tool to creating the continuous positive change we all want to see for our downtown,” says Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ executive director. “We want to retain the great retailers we already have and attract the types of businesses that will make downtown Winnipeg thrive.
Please see below for links to view the complete retail strategy, executive summary, implementation strategy and profiles of current downtown businesses.
For more information, please contact:
Nisha Tuli, Manager, Communications & Marketing
Ph: (204) 958-4626, Cell: 232 9489, firstname.lastname@example.org