By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: April. 13, 2012
There are changes afoot on Cleveland Ave.
The Kid’s Place is closing down, Sequence Board Supply is moving to a new location downtown, Chef Big D’s is expanding, and there is another business waiting to be unveiled soon.
In interviews with Squamish Reporter, each business offered a unique perspective on their own situation and on the drift of things downtown.
Not surprisingly, Chef Big D’s owner Darren was the happiest, his words dripping with confidence and robust energy.
As he watched customers line up, he offered a forceful rebuttal to the oft-repeated view that downtown is dead.
“Look, if you have something good to offer, if you have great service, if what you are selling is affordable, then people will come,” he said.
Chef Big D will be adding 18 more seats and expanding to Kid’s place location by June 1.
Big D has been in downtown Squamish for almost a decade, and David doesn’t believes too much in the-economy-is-bad-so-no-one-is-spending argument.
“Locals or tourists, we get everyone here,” he said smiling.
It’s not so much sunny side up next door at The Kid’s Place which is closing down at the end of April.
Everything here is marked 50 per cent down for the clearance, and owner Carolyn Christie is busy dealing with a steady stream of young mothers with tots in tow.
The store, a consignment store for kids clothing, did good business for about 13 years, and with the recent influx of young families, it seemed to be booming.
It turns out that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t want to blame anyone, Christie said, with a tinge of sadness and resignation.
She said more and more people were turning online for kids clothing, and some young moms have created real and virtual networks to shop for kids clothing that affected her business.
“I guess I’m old school and I never really upgraded my skills,” she said.
Some young moms shopping at the shop were surprised by the news of the impending closure. With the economy, you would think that a store like this would be doing well, said Stormy Lee.
Some said Christie could have done a better job with making a store a more inviting presence, adding a dash of vibe and colour, and making it a tad bit more organised than it is now.
At the Sequence Board Supply, the owner Mahmoud Haghighi, is both relieved and happy to move his store to a smaller location next to RBC Bank.
He pays $4,000 in rent for the 18,000 sq-ft space, a sum of money that has become increasingly hard for him to pay. At his new location, he would pay only $1,500 for a much smaller space, but he’s looking forward to move there on June.1
“I’m just so happy and excited,” he said, sounding relieved.
A few years ago, he had four people working for him, but now he stood alone in the store, waiting for teenagers that don’t come as often as they used to.
Haghighi says his guess is they don’t have well-paying jobs in the town, which leaves little extra money in their hand to shop around.
Squamish needs jobs, he said.