Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Amsterdam Tea Room To Open In Old Market Square

The space where the old Winnipeg Folk Festival music store was will soon see life as an art gallery and tea room to open in the next short while. The building at 221 Bannatyne at the comer of Letinsky Place is at the back of what was once the Crocus building.  Pita Pit is right next door.

It is directly across from Old Market Square and while it won't be open for Jazz Winnipeg Fest, it is likely to be a huge attraction for Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

Students, residents, concert goers and business people in the area are likely to be very happy with yet another option bring critical mass for food and entertainment to the district.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Jones New York Stores Close Across Canada

Jones New York on Kenaston
The company was saved just last year when Grafton Fraser in Canada, owner of Tip Top, bought the Canadian arm of classic women's wear company Jones New York.

The company continued to bleed money in a tough retail environment until this week the decision was made to pull the plug. All 37 stores in Canada will close and the stock liquidated. There will be a loss of 300 jobs.

In Winnipeg, the one and only Jones New York is on Kenaston at McGillvary and can be seen from the road. The province to take the biggest hit will be Ontario where the bulk of the stores are.

The Kenaston big box location has seen some closures recently. Some of those are likely in anticipation of the opening of Outlets of Seasons factory mall. There should be some interest in the vacant spots but things will be in flux till next year for sure.

Retailing has never been more fickle and the market so difficult to read. This won't be the last store group to close. Sears continues to struggle and that is one everyone is waiting for to sink or swim.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jollibee and Save-On Foods Revitalize Northgate Shopping Center McPhillips

A drive along McPhillips will quickly reveal some opportunities that have come up as a result of grocery store and department store closures. The Northgate Shopping Centre in 2010 had a 98% occupancy rate but the shut down of Zellers a few years back had the place looking a little forlorn.

The 230,000 square foot mall was constructed in 1962 and renovated in 1998 and 2004. In 2010 it was put up for sale for $20 million. It has the last discount movie theatre in Winnipeg with Cinema City.

The arrival of Target initiated the ending of Zellers at Northgate and the big American retailer looked at the site and simply said no. And there it sat empty for the longest time until Jimmy Pattison in Vancouver saw an opportunity to bring his B.C. based grocery business Save-On Foods to Manitoba.

The Save-On Foods sign in now up even while the grocery is still being spruced up with the green colouring of the company. When Pattison announced the store was coming, the neighbourhood turned up in droves and triumphant. While not a grocery desert, recent closures of a Safeway as well as the Zellers hurt competitiveness on the street.

The new construction in front of the Save On Foods will be the home to Winnipeg's second Jollibee's location. The first will be on Ellice north of Polo Park.

The combination of a Save on Foods and Jollibee's at Northgate vaults the down at its heels mall to top attraction on McPhillips. No word on when the grocer opens but it is a good bet sometime in the next several weeks. As for Jollibee's, probably mid-summer.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Izakaya Edokko Sushi & Bar Coming to Place Louis Riel

Located across from Library
Thanks to a tip from a sharp eyed reader.

The empty Ground Floor Urban Diner will see a new restaurant emerge soon. Izakaya Edokko Sushi & Bar has opening soon signs in the window.

The Japanese gastropub is situated of St. Marys Avenue although the address reads 190 Smith Street. If you type in 190 Smith Street Izakaya though you might get Melbourne, Australia's Pabu resturant instead. Winnipeg Eddoku is across the street from Centennial Library and kitty corner to the new Winnipeg Police Services headquarters. 

La Rocha just down the street has opened their Mexican themed location in the old spot occupied by Gio's and the Lobby on York modern steakhouse is in the same block. All in all parking in this one area for a convention or hockey game and you have critical mass for street level food for all tastes.

Izakaya style is tavern style bar and restaurant. It is successfully done in downtown At Samurai across from the MTS Centre on Portage Avenue. A few other places scattered around the city have shown that the Japanese pub style if well suited to the city. In the past year Ichiban on Carlton across from the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre made a portion of their long time restaurant into a faster service pub.

Izakaya Edokko Sushi & Bar is likely going to be discovered this summer during work and festival season but I'm sure Jets and Moose fans are going to love having it nearby as well.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Silver City Polo Park to Become Scotiabank Theatre Polo Park

Winnipeg's largest movie complex will be getting a name change this summer. Silver City Polo Park will become Scotiabank Theatre Polo Park to reflect the new 10 year agreement between the bank and theatre company in regards to the Scene card.

Winnipeg movie audience are familiar with the ad at the beginning of movies showing unsuspecting guests receiving a free movie at Scotiabank Theatres for using their Scene Card.

Cineplex, Silver City's owner recently announced monster profits for last part of 2015 and this is in part to updating the movie experience and renovating theatres.

Fit4Less Joining Goodlife Fitness at Grand Park Shopping Centre

It was a bit of a mystery what was going to go in the remaining space of the old Target at Grant Park Shopping Centre. Canadian Tire has just one month till its opening July 1st and takes up the majority of the space. What was left was 35,000 or so of leaseable space.

Then along came Goodlife Fitness to announce they were going to build a 25,000 square foot Co-Ed location in part of the space. That left 12,000 square feet of leasable space.

Today, Grant Park announced that Goodlife Fitnesss's sister company will be opening in Manitoba for the first time and occupying all that remains of the 12,000 square foot space. Fit4Less by GoodLife is a low cost fitness option with lowest prices in the country. This will only be the third time in Canada that it has operated side by side with a full Goodlife Fitness.

From the press release:

 “This is going to be one of the most beautiful and unique fitness clubs in Manitoba,” says David ‘Patch’ Patchell-Evans, Founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness. “Winnipeg is such a diverse city, so it makes sense to acknowledge that by offering a variety of fitness options too. We believe that by offering these clubs side-by-side we will give even more residents in the city the opportunity to live a fit and healthy life.”

“GoodLife and Fit4Less by GoodLife will be fantastic additions to our shopping centre,” said Sandra Hagenaars, General Manager of Grant Park Shopping Centre. “Not only will these clubs encourage multiple visits per week to the mall, they will further enhance Grant Park’s unique mix of service and retail tenants.”

 The new combined Goodlife should be open sometime in the new year.