March 13, 2019 7:32 am

Belleville businesses hope to entice Costco customers downtown

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

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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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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.

“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.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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