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Business landscape evolving downtown Squamish

New and expanding businesses have BIA president feeling confident



Spring is the season of renewal and fresh beginnings but for some Squamish businesses this spring marks the end of the line.

Recently closed businesses in Squamish have included the patio furniture store along with The Kids Place consignment store and Lucky Loonies all on Cleveland Avenue.

Scott McQuade, the president of the Downtown Business Improvement Area, pointed out that while a few places have closed, the downtown business community in Squamish is experiencing growth.

“It’s changing as any place changes,” said McQuade of recent shifts in the landscape of Squamish’s downtown area.

He noted that a high-end women’s clothing store is now open in the space formerly occupied by Yianni’s Taverna and he also said that space taken by The Kids Place will be swallowed up by an expansion of Chef Big D’s next door.

McQuade described the new Whistle Stop clothing store as an anchor for downtown. The owner of the clothing store was pushed out of Squamish Station Mall to accommodate Valhalla Pure’s expansion.

“The store front looks great and I’d like to see more businesses like that downtown,” McQuade said of the transformation of a space formerly occupied by a Greek restaurant to now operating as a clothing store.

Right next door to the Whistle Stop is the Funky Monkey clothing store and it is currently advertised through Craigslist as being available for purchase and across the street Sequence is holding a moving sale with the store set to move up the street next to the Royal Bank.

McQuade said downtown Squamish has the appearance of high turnover.

“Its not a downtown Squamish thing, its a business viability thing,” said the business leader. “If your business is viable it will do well downtown Squamish. If your business isn’t viable it won’t do well downtown Squamish as it wouldn’t do well anywhere. Rents are a little bit lower so I think that people who don’t have viable businesses think that they can make a go of it because the rent is low.”

McQuade’s confidence in the area is demonstrated in his own business. He said a new bar is going to begin operations next month. He has rented street level space in his building to a pair of entrepreneurs who plan to open in June.

We’ve got some developments moving down here and the council is committed to a vibrant waterfront,” said McQuade. According to the BIA president, the local government leaders are committed to supporting those who want to develop in Squamish’s main business area.

He said there’s room for more new businesses and McQuade specifically suggested an independent grocery store is a potentially viable business for downtown Squamish.

Check the Thursday edition of Pique Newsmagazine for more business news.

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