‘I’m a big believer in what this downtown can be’: Lethbridge business The Owl

Click to play video: 'Keeping businesses in downtown Lethbridge'
Keeping businesses in downtown Lethbridge
WATCH ABOVE: The pandemic offered an opportunity for a Lethbridge business to grow and move into a bigger space. Its goal? To bring people downtown. Jessica Robb got a look inside the new space and explains why this move is so important – Apr 8, 2021

Owl Acoustic Lounge is a well-known restaurant and live entertainment venue in Lethbridge. The Owl hosts live music, paint nights, comedy shows and everything in between.

The opening and closing during the pandemic gave the owners a chance to jump on securing a bigger space.

“We figured that spacing and social distancing requirements weren’t going anywhere,” said part-owner Steven Foord.

“We had talked about one day making the move to a larger space and we decided we had to pull the trigger on it.”

The new location on 3 Ave was the perfect spot.

“I’m a big believer in what this downtown can be and I want to see it happen.”

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Tulene Steiestol, executive director of the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, understands the downtown area doesn’t have the best reputation.

“I think the community at large maybe has a misconception to what downtown is,” she said. “Or they don’t have a full understanding of the offerings we do have.”

The Downtown Lethbridge BRZ is hoping the pandemic is changing that.

“We do have some empty spots, but we also have a lot of folks knocking on our doors looking for spaces to lease.”

Steiestol credits this interest to people being pushed to explore their own city and discovering what “their backyard” has to offer during the pandemic.

Click to play video: '3 Avenue reconstruction project in downtown Lethbridge underway'
3 Avenue reconstruction project in downtown Lethbridge underway

Paired with cheaper rent and the area’s vibrancy, Steiestol isn’t surprised people are looking towards downtown.

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“There’s that creative spirit and gravitational pull that these entrepreneurs, who are like-minded, are really coming together and hoping for some positive change and more momentum coming into downtown.”

A movement Foord says The Owl is happy to be a part of.

“We want to be a big part of that and get people into downtown Lethbridge. We want it to be a place for everybody to go.”

Foord is ready to welcome people to the new location as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“People have been locked up for a long time, we know that, and are ready to get out and do things,” he said. “And part of that is giving them things to do and we want that to be downtown.”

Steiestol says that any business opening, or moving, downtown is a positive thing.

“But it’s going to be that much more positive when there’s places for people to go and have entertainment, when it’s safe to do so.”

The Owl has no set opening date yet. It hopes to have a soft opening in the near future when the patio is complete.

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