-12.8 C
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

There are changes in store for the Village Shoppes in Elmira

Some tenants moving out as owners make plans to renovate the space


News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind....


clear sky
-12.8 ° C
-10.6 °
-15 °
72 %
1 %
-4 °
3 °
-6 °
-9 °
-10 °

Increasing building maintenance costs and a struggle to attract businesses has inspired the property owners of the Village Shoppes in Elmira to begin discussions with the township, the BIA, and current tenants about how best to renovate it later this year.

Flow Café has already left, and announced on Dec. 21 they would not be reopening, but instead focusing on their coffee catering business.

“A rumor has been floating around about our business potentially closing and we are writing in response to that. Our landlords have decided they will not be offering us a new lease and therefore we are uncertain of the future of our business in 2016 and beyond,” they posted on their Facebook page.

Gavin Fitzpatrick, vice-president of business development at The Kain Group, declined to comment on which businesses will be staying in the building, stating they’re still in the early stages of figuring that out.

“They’re leaving,” Fitzpatrick said of Flow Café. “There’s at least two others at this point. We’re still in discussions.”

The Kain Group took over the property in 2010, which houses other businesses such as Schelter Office Plus, Woolwich Total Health Pharmacy, and the Village Pet Food Shoppe.

Schelter Office Plus, and the Village Pet Food Shoppe confirmed on Tuesday they’re both looking for new locations.

Once the popular Brox’s Olde Town Village, the building on the corner of Church and Arthur streets in Elmira will be undergoing renovations later this year.[Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Once the popular Brox’s Olde Town Village, the building on the corner of Church and Arthur streets in Elmira will be undergoing renovations later this year. [Whitney Neilson / The Observer]
Fitzpatrick says the 20,000-square-foot building is less than half full.

“A lot of that is related to the cost of the building, the maintenance costs of the building have gone up quite a bit,” Fitzpatrick said.

He says the tenants share common area fees, which are “pretty expensive” in that building. Those include things like hydro and snow clearing.

They’re hoping to make the building more energy efficient as part of the renovations.

“We’ve sort of gotten into a bit of a rut with the building in the last little while, in that it hasn’t been full. We’ve had a few tenants in it and it’s kind of been a perfect storm where we’ve got these tenants in the building, the building maintenance costs have gone up quite a bit over the last few years and so we were looking at the building thinking we need to do something with this building to make it a little bit more successful for us, for the people in it, and obviously for Elmira as well,” Fitzpatrick said.

They started looking at how they could renovate the building two months ago. He says when they found out a couple tenants were leaving that pushed them to move a bit faster.

They’re hoping by making it look more attractive on the outside they can attract more businesses.

“To be quite blunt the look of  the building on the outside, it’s not inviting. If you look at a lot of retail buildings they have a glass front door or some sort of window so that you can see into the building. Ours is very much a wood covered building. It’s kind of interesting that it’s so beautiful on the inside and it’s being covered in blue wood on the outside,” Fitzpatrick said.

The building was built as Brox’s Olde Town Village and many moons ago was a popular tourist destination, with busloads of tourists coming to shop and eat at the restaurant.

“Right now it’s at best being sort of badly underutilized,” Fitzpatrick said.

They’d like to show off the building in all its post-and-beam glory. By bringing some “light” into it they’re hoping to fill it back up with tenants.

“Most of the buildings that people build nowadays are metal, they’re either a concrete or metal frame and then the building goes up from there. They throw some windows on the front. That is a much easier beast to work with, but we think we can do something much better with this because it’s got that unique character. So we’re pushing toward making that the centerpiece of the building again. They certainly had a good vision when they built it but the layout is a little bit odd right now,” Fitzpatrick said.

He says aside from their building and one other, all the downtown properties are usually full – an abnormality for a small town downtown.

“We’ve been engaged with the BIA, we’ve talked to the township. And we’re continuing to do that, meeting with a number of stakeholders and businesses. We want to make sure what we do fits into the downtown. What we don’t want to do is decide that we have a purpose for the building and then the downtown doesn’t need that,” Fitzpatrick said.

He said the businesses staying in the building will remain open during construction, but they might move around inside. They’ve got an architect engaged and once they know who’s staying and who’s going they’ll decide where to put them.

“We’re trying to make sure we fully understand what will succeed there for us, for the tenants, and for the city. And then that’s what we’ll move forward with.”



  1. If they bring the costs down then it’s a good thing, otherwise no matter how pretty it is, no business will be viable.

  2. Good to hear! That building is an eyesore. Really, that whole block should be torn down and re-built. It’s all ugly and not inviting at all.

    On a more realistic note: with these renovations they should also do some work on accessibility inside the building. It’s hard to get around in there with a stroller. It must be almost impossible with a wheelchair.

Comments are closed.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

An Elmira church will play host to a lively performance by an internationally-acclaimed children’s choir from Uganda, Africa. The Watoto...

New app a one-stop shop for region’s waste program

Not sure when your garbage will be picked up? What’s currently allowed in the recycling bin? There’s an app for that.

EDCL donates $1,000 as thank-you to Floradale firefighters

Thanking the Woolwich Fire Department, Elmira District Community Living this week donated $1,000 to the Floradale station. Firefighters from Floradale...

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

Kings win two more to keep streak alive

The Elmira Sugar Kings extended their 2020 winning streak and their hold on the conference standings with a pair of wins over the weekend.
- Advertisement -