April 11, 2019 6:25 pm
Updated: April 11, 2019 7:58 pm

Farmers market chosen as new anchor store to rescue Balzac’s empty mega-mall

WATCH: It's been open since last summer, yet Balzac's New Horizon Mall has been plagued with the reputation of having a slow start. But there is optimism, as a new anchor tenant is announced. Jill Croteau reports.

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It’s been open since the summer of 2018, but Balzac’s New Horizon Mall has been plagued with the reputation of having a slow start. There’s renewed optimism though, as a new anchor tenant has been announced.

The Prairie Horizon Fresh Market, will be opening this summer. Project manager Ken Aylesworth said it will attract more customers to the virtually vacant mega-mall.

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“I think what it will do for the mall is generate more bodies,” Aylesworth said.

“Farmers markets are wonderful breeding grounds as incubators for small businesses and so is this incredible facility here. People want to try being an entrepreneur, this is what can be done.”

READ MORE: New Horizon Mall businesses benefiting from free rent in Calgary

The 23,000-square-foot farmers market joins the other anchor tenant Best Shop, described as a Chinese Walmart. The general manager of New Horizon Mall, Scott Smith, said it’s an exciting opportunity.

“We have 74 stores open right now and another 28 expecting to open in the next couple of months and we are starting to see momentum. We are expecting things to really build off our announcement of two anchor tenants,” Smith said.

Customers inside the New Horizon Mall near Balzac.

Dani Lantela / Global News

But some of the existing operators inside the New Horizon Mall say they’re frustrated other tenants haven’t moved in yet. They say it’s the other way around. Owner of Board Games 4 Us, David Chamberlain, said he’s frustrated the other owners are waiting to open.

“They are waiting for traffic to improve but it’s the other way around.

“It’s not going to save everything. It’s psychology,” Chamberlain said. “The 80 per cent of the units currently not open need to go in and tip their own balance because they don’t seem to realize with having 20 per cent we are getting less than 20 per cent of the customers that could be coming in. If they opened their stores that will change it.”

READ MORE: Calgary’s New Horizon Mall shop owners remain optimistic despite low traffic

There are 517 open retail spots available in the multi-million dollar mall.

The Prairie Horizon Fresh Market has secured some of its vendors and hopes to recruit more before they open this summer.

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

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