BROADWAY B R I G H T L I G H T S O N Good things are happening in Tillsonburg

M ost towns and cities have at least a few “challenging properties” in their commercial core. Some buildings seem to be black holes of business, while others sit idle year after year. But if you think downtown re- newal isn’t possible, think again. “Tillsonburg is definitely in the midst of a building boom right now,” says Chief Building Officer Geno Vanhaelewyn. “Our residen- tial housing starts are higher than they’ve been in five years, and we’re seeing an influx of commercial in- vestment on top of it.” “If you drive south into Tillson- burg on Broadway, you’ll pass three major construction sites on your way into the downtown,” says De- velopment Commissioner Cephas Panschow. “And they’re all proper- ties that have struggled to attract in- terest in the past.” Two of the sites on Broadway will soon house optometry practices (Dr. Springer and Dr. Nelles), while the third will be a large dental office (Drs. Minielly, Jarycki, Jones, Mattan and McDonald). “A lot of professional offices are relocating right now in an effort to make their premises more acces- sible,” says Panschow. “People are

looking for barrier-free entrances and more open floor plans.” But it isn’t just service-oriented businesses that are investing in Tillsonburg; the retail sector is also growing. “We’ve had several new retail businesses open in the past few months including Roka Billiards, The Anchor Shoppe and No Dice Games,” says Virginia Armstrong, Executive Director of the Tillsonburg Business Improvement Association (BIA). “It’s good news for shoppers,

and great news for the BIA.” Kitchener’s Carolyn Closs, own- er of The Anchor Shoppe, says she considered communities all over Ontario including Port Colborne, Grimsby, Goderich, Port Hope and Barrie before deciding to establish her new and renewed furniture business at 18 Oxford Street in Till- sonburg. Though her store has only been open a few weeks, she’s con- vinced she’s made the right choice. “The people have been amazing so far,” she says. “Everyone is so


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