Downtown Kincardine needs commercial developers

Retail space limited after slew of new businesses open

By Barb McKay


Business is booming in downtown Kincardine.


In the past few months, a total of nine businesses have either opened in the core or are preparing to shortly.


Three new businesses have set up shop on Lambton Street. Tundra, a recruitment firm, and 2m, an electrical engineering company, moved into the former Scout Hall last year. Cool Smokers is currently on Lambton Street but will be re-locating to the former Lake Huron Video location on Queen Street in the near future. Lake Huron Video has moved farther north on Queen Street.


Earlier this year, The Ross Firm opened a new office at Quinn Plaza. The law firm also has offices in Stratford and Goderich. Also, this past winter, Gemini Jewellers expanded its business from one location in Listowel to a second shop in the former Kincardine Curves location.


Within the past two weeks, two more businesses have opened to the public. Millcreek Chocolates is located where Anastasia’s was formerly and Lake Effect Juice Bar, operated by local residents Don Peddie and Janine Eby, opened across the street from Mac’s Milk on Queen Street.


Two additional businesses are in the process of moving to Kincardine and are expected to open this month. Schultz Bakery, which has a location in Hanover, will open Best Friends Bakery and Ice Cream in the former Sears space. Kincardine Hearing Clinic will open in the former Royal LePage office at Queen and Broadway streets within a few weeks.


“All of this interest is exciting for us,” Kincardine BIA downtown development manager Rick Clarke told The Independent last week. “It re-affirms what we are trying to do, and that is to have things downtown that attract shoppers and also attract quality retailers.”


There has been so much interest, in fact, that there is now a shortage of prime retail space in the downtown. There are a couple of key locations remaining, including 2,000 square feet of commercial space in the former Foodland building, and larger development properties, including the Aztec Theatre and 841 Queen St.


“Those are key pieces of real estate,” Clarke said. “What we really need is for a developer to come in and create new retail development. We need commercial developers and investors. We also need to bring new retail into the north end of Queen Street and extend our downtown.”


Clarke said the recent influx of new businesses to the downtown core is likely a reflection of the general economy, but also demonstration that Kincardine has a lot to offer. He said the downtown is clean and attractive and there is a healthy mix of established businesses.


As new businesses are popping up, improvements are also underway downtown. Tramonto is completing renovations to its kitchen and the rear of the building. The municipal parking lot between Queen and Princes streets is being reconstructed and is expected to be completed by the middle of the month.


Clarke said he expects the summer to be busy with several events already scheduled. World Fiddle Day, held May 21, was a success with more than 200 spectators. The Mocha Shriners parade will take place Saturday down Queen Street; the Teddy Bear Parade will be held June 18; Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band parades will begin June 25; Canada Day celebrations, Cruise Night and the Scottish Festival will be held July 1; and the Lighthouse Blues Festival will be held the following weekend.


“All these things create excitement and draw people into Kincardine and the downtown,” Clarke said, adding the events aid efforts to make Queen Street a destination shopping district.


In addition, the Kincardine BIA is running a ‘Late Till 8’ campaign to extend shopping hours downtown and plans are underway to provide street entertainment on Queen Street on Thursday evenings.