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Belleville businesses hope to entice Costco customers downtown

Fresh events and ideas needed as downtown Belleville battles for shoppers dollars

As Global News reported last week, Costco is planning to expand to the friendly city.

The retail giant will anchor a new shopping centre slated for Bell Boulevard. But as more shoppers are drawn uptown, what impact could this have on stores in Belleville’s downtown?

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Kathryn Brown is the chair of the Belleville Downtown Improvement Area board of management. She’s also a small business owner on Front Street.

“[With] Costco coming into town, I think it will create healthier competition for us. Are we ready for the challenge? I think yes,” Brown said. “We were already going down the path of creating a new vision and strategy.”

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Rink named after deceased Belleville O.P.P Sgt.
Rink named after deceased Belleville O.P.P Sgt.

Brown says there are over 200 business members with downtown Belleville, all looking to the future with a renewed sense of optimism. Sean Kelly is a Belleville city councillor.

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“We know how tough it is for downtowns — not just in Belleville but throughout the province and across the country,” Kelly said. “We’ve got some unique things happening and more to come. [There’s an] exciting summer ahead of us, so Belleville is going to be fine.”

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The city has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure repairs in the core. Richard Belanger, the owner operator of Scalliwag Toys, has been a part of the downtown scene for nearly 35 years. He says a vibrant downtown is extremely important and he’s looking forward to some fresh ideas from the Improvement Area Board.

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