Business owner takes issue with letter on downtown Courtenay

Dear editor,

In response to “To revitalize, look outside the retail box” (Letter to the Editor, Nov. 5).

First may I start by saying Mr. Brown: Thank you for caring about our beautiful downtown. As a business owner on Fifth Street, building owner and board of directors member I too love and care about our downtown.

But I am wondering when you visited us last?  The reason I ask is that I see a very different picture. I do not see the “gradual demise of the retail shopping experience” as you mention nor am I witnessing “the downtown atrophy”.

Yes it’s true that businesses are closing due to different factors such as retirement, poor business decisions, divorce, illness etc. That is the cycle of life. This is not something new. What is new is the slower business openings to take their place when they close.

There are many factors for that but mostly this is due to the untrue rumours that well-meaning but uninformed citizens like yourself are constantly spreading as facts.

Rumours such as “rents are high” when in actual fact downtown Courtenay rents are some of the lowest retail rents in our district.

Rumours such as “businesses are closing because of the economy” when in fact the economy in downtown Courtenay is healthy and happy. My business, for example, has more than doubled its sales in the last three years.

Rumours such as “Downtown is dying” when in fact businesses such as mine have had to expand their staff in order to accommodate the increasingly high volume of shoppers that come to us daily (Thank you to all of our loyal customers).

So again, thank you for caring about our beautiful downtown. We appreciate your concern and love. But please instead of talking about your perceived ideas of the demise of downtown and what is wrong with it, do us all a favour and sing its praises.

Tell your neighbours about the fact that we have 1,800 parking spots that are free of charge.

Tell your friends and family about all the new businesses that have opened in the last year.

Yell from your rooftop about all the unique, well priced products that can be found in downtown Courtenay.

Help us spread the word that downtown Courtenay is alive and well on its way to re-building its vibrancy.

Jenny Deters

Downtown Courtenay