New busi­nesses ben­e­fit down­town

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Kyle Smylie

The down­town land­scape is chang­ing with a num­ber of cos­metic changes and a num­ber of new busi­nesses have been choos­ing to do busi­ness there, af­firm­ing town ad­min­is­tra­tion’s goal of cre­at­ing a more vi­brant and eco­nom­i­cally-healthy place for vis­i­tors and lo­cals.

Traders Fur­ni­ture, Fash­ion Sense Bou­tique, Vin­tage Kitchen and Bar, Cit­i­ZEN yoga, three cannabis shops, Green­tree Den­tal re­lo­cat­ing, and a new hair sa­lon are some of the busi­nesses who have or will be open­ing their doors down­town. Town de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Ju­lia Field­ing says it is not an un­usu­ally high num­ber for Drumheller but they’ve seen quite a turn­around down­town.

“The po­ten­tial down­town is huge, we have some beau­ti­ful build­ings there and it’s ex­cit­ing to see peo­ple in­vest­ing there,” she said. “I do feel we have a lot of peo­ple here who re­ally see the ben­e­fit of work­ing down­town.”

The town, as well as a num­ber of lo­cal busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions have been work­ing to im­prove down­town’s ap­pear­ances, such as Cen­tury 21 spon­sor­ing the rooftop di­nosaur stat­ues, the Di­noArts As­so­ci­a­tion’s re­cent di­nosaur mu­ral on the Napier Theatre, and the lo­cal pride as­so­ci­a­tion spon­sor­ing the pride cross­walk this sum­mer. Mayor Heather Col­berg says while this town ad­min­is­tra­tion has had a pri­or­ity of work­ing to beau­tify the town, com­mu­nity mem­bers have been step­ping up to do their part, too.

“I think the di­rec­tion of this ad­min­is­tra­tion is that we are putting ef­forts into mak­ing the com­mu­nity an invit­ing place to be. It’s tak­ing time and un­for­tu­nately you can’t change ev­ery­thing overnight, but it’s nice to see peo­ple are en­joy­ing it and are happy with what they see,” Col­berg said.

Candice Dow opened Fash­ion Sense Bou­tique on 3rd Av­enue about three weeks ago and has al­ready felt sup­port from the com­mu­nity. She man­aged Merle Nor­man for 18 years be­fore it closed this sum­mer and saw the po­ten­tial down­town of open­ing her own women’s cloth­ing store.

“I just felt it was go­ing to leave a hole in the town so I de­cided to open. I’ve seen a lot of fa­mil­iar faces from the other store and some new ones. There’s been a lot of sup­port – peo­ple are happy they can shop lo­cally for the brands I carry and I’ve al­ready de­vel­oped a good re­la­tion­ship with those cus­tomers,” Dow said.

While not a new busi­ness, Vin­tage Tap House owner Evan Pap­pas is ex­pand­ing his restau­rant later this month with the open­ing of Vin­tage Kitchen and Bar, an all ages restau­rant next

door to his ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tion. He tells the Mail he saw the po­ten­tial of op­er­at­ing an al­lages es­tab­lish­ment.

“The town has sup­ported us for the past 27 years so we’d like to think it’s worth open­ing up a busi­ness here,” Pap­pas said. “We’ve owned this since 2000 and in 2009 when we did ren­o­va­tions into a pub and grill we saw we were do­ing good as a bar but we had a lot of peo­ple say they wish they could bring their kids in for sup­per.”

Calsea Free­man will be open­ing Cit­i­ZEN yoga down­town this fall. She spent her sum­mers grow­ing up in Drumheller and knew it would be a good place to both live and op­er­ate a busi­ness.

“I def­i­nitely wanted some­thing on main­street with walk­ing traf­fic and ex­po­sure with events hap­pen­ing. Down­town, I thought, is a good place to do busi­ness,” she says.

Both Mayor Col­berg and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Field­ing says the town is work­ing on its strate­gic plan but the im­prove­ment and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of down­town will con­tinue. Field­ing says the town has been work­ing to ac­tively pro­mote Drumheller as a place to live and work in. This sum­mer they com­pleted an in­vest­ment at­trac­tion pro­gram which saw ‘se­cret shop­pers’ eval­u­ate busi­nesses and have been push­ing pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial to mar­ket Drumheller to po­ten­tial res­i­dents.

“We have a won­der­ful, small com­mu­nity, with low com­mute times. We have a lot of busi­nesses here with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude try­ing to make the best of what we have and play­ing to our strengths. We have a lot of things to of­fer peo­ple to live here.”

mailphoto by Kyle Smylie

The Di­noArts As­so­ci­a­tion mu­ral is one of a few aes­thetic changes to hap­pen down­town this year.

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