The land­scape in Alexan­dria is chang­ing

Seaway News - - NEWS - Todd Li­hou

ALEXAN­DRIA, On­tario - This isn’t your grand­fa­ther’s Alexan­dria - and we’re pretty sure your dad wouldn’t rec­og­nize it ei­ther.

The hub of North Glen­garry is un­der­go­ing a sig­nif­i­cant shift in its land­scape, with a slew of changes on the com­mer­cial front.

A new Your In­de­pen­dent Gro­cer, cou­pled with ren­o­va­tions to Cana­dian Tire have aug­mented a busy sec­tion of town for mo­torists ar­riv­ing from the south, and Glen­garry Fu­neral Homes has like­wise in­vested tens of thou­sands in a ren­o­va­tion that is al­ready pay­ing div­i­dends. And peo­ple are notic­ing. “At this point ev­ery­one is pleased to the de­vel­op­ments and the changes,” said Michael Mad­den, pres­i­dent of the Alexan­dria and Dis­trict Cham­ber of Com­merce. “It’s a good in­di­ca­tion that we’re do­ing al­right.”

For a long time that wasn’t the case. Alexan­dria, for many years, suf­fered from an iden­tity cri­sis as many had writ­ten off the North Glen­garry town as a place where com­merce has strug­gled.

Not so now, said Brent Hill, owner of the newly-ren­o­vated Glen­garry Fu­neral Home.

“I think it just gets to a point where peo­ple ex­pect a lit­tle more,” he said. “Th­ese changes we’re do­ing of­fer a dif­fer­ent level of ser­vice.”

Hill sug­gested with many changes com­ing in places like Corn­wall, shop­pers ex­pect a bit of a trickle-down ef­fect and that their lo­cal mer­chants have to keep pace.

“Th­ese changes are what buy­ers ex­pect in big­ger cen­tres,” said Hill, whose op­er­a­tion now in­cludes a 2,500 square foot re­cep­tion area that didn’t ex­ist be­fore. “All this is a good thing for the town.”

Some mer­chants pre­ferred a com­pletely new build­ing to a ren­o­va­tion.

Marco Chartrand, owner of Your In­de­pen­dent Gro­cer in Alexan­dria, said mak­ing the change to his store made sense from a busi­ness per­spec­tive, since cus­tomers were look­ing for a new shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

The pre­vi­ous YIG store was com­pletely de­mol­ished in favour of a brand new store ear­lier this year.

Next door the Cana­dian Tire like­wise go­ing through a ren­o­va­tion.

“We’re in the right place and go­ing the right way,” said Mad­den. “Com­ing into town it’s some­thing peo­ple will stop and say ‘ We should take a look at this place.’”

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