11 storefronts popping up in Clinton thanks to downtown revitalization
Downtown Clinton – Angela Smith photo
Officials say more shops may open in the near future
By Hala Ghonaim CBC News August 31 2019
The community of Clinton, Ont. is preparing to open up a total of 11 new storefront businesses along its main drag this fall, much to its own surprise.
This small Ontario community is filling empty storefronts by giving away free retail space
It all started when officials decided to hold the Central Huron Win this Space contest, offering a year’s worth of free retail space to one emerging business. The contest required business owners to complete a training course, write a detailed business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges.
The contest spread throughout the community and donations poured in — enough to provide free retail spaces to five businesses instead of one.
“The story didn’t stop there,” said Angela Smith, Central Huron’s Community Improvement Coordinator.
Even more people pitched in after the winners were announced, raising more than $60, 000. The Municipality of Central Huron then offered two additional business owners a year’s worth of space, she said.
“That was going to be the end of my story, but again, word just kept travelling and it was spreading like wildfire,” said Smith.
Independent from the contest, four out-of-town business owners signed their own leases in the core after hearing about the downtown revitalization effort.
Izzy’s Custom Detailing and Spa had its soft opening this month. (Submitted by Angela Smith)
“Now, I have four businesses coming to town just because of what has happened … and that we’re working so hard to promote the area,” said Smith.
Growing the community
Smith said the community experienced a downturn after a number of businesses shut down in the community.
“We have had owners retire … some perhaps were pushed out because of big-box stores in the area, or because of the general decline that has happened to small towns all over the province,” she said. “But now, to have the whole streets full again, it’s going to be vibrant again.”
Izzy Tendik, of Kitchener, is choosing to commute every day after opening up Izzy’s Detailing and Spa, an auto detailing shop. He said it’s worth it.
“Business is amazing, I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. “It was meant to be. I could see that there was a need in Clinton for someone to detail cars and clean them up.”
He was drawn to the community after a relative made him aware of available retail space there.
“I love the community here. It’s amazing how everyone … is coming out with plans and ideas … to help Clinton grow, so that we can grow,” said Tendik.
More on the horizon
Smith said she’s not done yet and that there may be an opportunity for more shops to pop up.
“This story of 11 has the potential to continue to grow,” she said.
Smith is working with other businesses owners interested in opening up stores in Clinton, she said.
The current businesses will officially open on Sept. 28.
Some of the stores opening this fall:
Mama & Me
Arch Angels Studio
Clinton Footcare and Wellness
Dress to Impress
Journey to the Soul
Izzy’s Custom Detailing and Spa