Expansion, promotion inject life back into downtown Grimsby

A woman holds up a pair of pants to examine them.
Amber Pozojevic of Grimsby was one of many visitors to downtown Grimsby on Saturday – making a stop at Mrs. Greenway’s to peruse goods on a sidewalk display – while daughter Alicia headed for a shady spot to sit down. Retailers had a busy weekend and the new sidewalk patios had a steady stream of clientele, too. Williscraft – Photo

By Mike Williscraft

The first weekend with a temporary reconfiguration of Grimsby’s Main Street core is in the books with positive comments and a strong response the prevailing themes

Last Thursday morning cement barriers were installed to create a pedestrian walkway on the north side of Main, allowing restaurants to expand patios and retailers to make use of the sidewalk for promotional purposes.

“There was definitely an upbeat buzz from all of the merchants. There was generally a good air of relief and approval,” said Coun. Reg Freake, who is also a liaison on Grimsby Downtown Improvement Area’s board of directors.
“The patios of all restaurants were busy: a pleasant thing to see.”

Part of the formula bringing people downtown was a promotion the DIA opted into called “The Big Spend” – a nation-wide promotion simply asking residents to frequent their local shops and make a purchase.

Lisa Deleen, owner of Wicked Things Baskets And Gifts, said the day was a big success.

“It went really well. I even had people calling in to buy something. There were people from out of town coming into our little town as well to support,” said Deleen.

“The community has been really good to me throughout this whole COVID-19 thing. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
When visitors needed a break from bargain hunting, many took the opportunity to frequent one of the Main Street eateries.

“It was great to see so many regulars come out. We missed each and every one of them. It was like family coming home. It was also nice to have the staff back, some of whom we haven’t seen for a few months. It’s going to take a bit to get used to doing everything a different way,” said Sandy Jaskula, co-owner of Teddy’s Food, Fun & Spirits of the weekend’s response.

A woman and her husband eat lunch on an outside patio.
Maria and George Angelopoulos – who just moved to the area from Alberta – of Welland took a lunch break at 40 Public House. Williscraft – Photo

“Customers were great and had no problems with any rules we had in place on the patio. Most customers were happy to see staff wearing face masks.”

Mayor Jeff Jordan noted that while he was pleased to see the town officials working with the DIA, he noted more attention needs to be paid keeping the wheels of COVID-19 recovery moving.

“I am glad we got here but we had some needless bumps along the way. We are looking ahead and want the best for all our businesses,” said Jordan.

Work is still underway to get flower boxes in place on the cement barriers along the street and planters for each entrance to the northside walkway. Plans call for these to be in place Thursday.

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