Five things that need to change in Weston / Mount Dennis. Part 2.

As we approach the year end, here are some things that seem to be holding us back locally. This is the second a five part series, which began yesterday.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Customers line up at the opening of P&M Restaurant’s new location in May 2015 (file).

2. The Retail Experience in Weston Mount Dennis

Believe it or not but Canadians only buy 5% of their non-grocery goods online. The rest is done in brick and mortar stores. Unfortunately, businesses in Weston and Mount Dennis are under-patronized as it often seems easier to jump in the car.

Retail in WMD is a bit like the old weather adage. Everyone complains about our shopping but nobody does anything about it. People use all kinds of excuses for not shopping locally but the bottom line is that if people want vibrant local shopping, they have to encourage local stores that go some way to meeting their needs. Weston and Mount Dennis will not be confused with Bloor West Village anytime soon but there are glimmers of hope that need to be encouraged. There is a symbiotic relationship between patronage, meeting the needs of customers and a vibrant shopping area.

If people don’t like the appearance of the streets or feel threatened, (More on that tomorrow : Part 3 – The Public Domain) they need to talk to the relevant parties such as 311 or Councillor Nunziata’s office. Statistically, we should understand that we put ourselves in the greatest danger when we drive our cars or cross the road.

Landlords: our empty stores need to be occupied. The tax rebate for empty stores will be ending by June 2018. This is a good thing that will provide an incentive to quickly re-let a storefront. Empty stores detract from the ambience of a shopping area and landlords with empty stores should allow non-profit groups to use the empty stores until paying tenants are found. Weston BIA and Mount Dennis BIA should get the ball rolling on this. If landlords are still happy to allow stores to sit empty, the city should go one further and tax vacant stores at a higher rate.

When Greenland Farm supermarket closes, many Weston residents will lose their only walkable source of produce. Is there another store waiting in the wings? The owner / developer of the GF site can promise that a major supermarket chain will be moving into the podium of the new development when it finally materializes on the site. It will be a meaningless and empty promise as the podium space will be leased to whoever is willing to pay. Councillor Nunziata should do all she can to encourage a seller of produce along the lines of the Royal York Fruit Market in the Royal York Plaza.

Banks are disappearing. We need walkable storefront bank branches.

Readers, what businesses would you like to see in your local shopping area? What stops you from shopping in WMD? Which stores have you patronized?

4 thoughts on “Five things that need to change in Weston / Mount Dennis. Part 2.”

  1. Thank you, Adam, for stating the obvious: use it or lose it. It’s always been a stunner for me that people don’t understand that retailers cannot survive on air and good wishes – we need our customers!! It’s very sad when we see that 75% of our sales come from outside the neighbourhood and allow us to keep our doors open. This is not a new phenomenon – it started in the 1980’s and spiraled down quickly due to outside forces along with a shift in buying practices. People need to understand that symbiotic relationship as you noted – I have been saying this for many years. I remember what our Christmas season used to be like 20 years ago and even 10 years ago – it was epic! Now with online shopping and gift cards, people don’t even come in for the fun stocking stuffers like they used to.

    Thank you again for your support this season! Here’s looking towards a new year and new habits in 2018!

  2. Councillor mentioned Loblaws but I’d be pleased as equally shocked. They could very well be the anchor we need in the area to hold down the street with increased foot traffic.

    As it sits – we are flush with Money Marts and other gloomy store fronts that don’t provide any sort of consumer appetite. Shoppers is arguably the store keeping the area at bay but they need help (Loblaws owns Shoppers, right?).

    We have the blueprint and infrastructure for something great.

    1. I guess you haven’t seen my store windows, Jacob! They are NEVER gloomy. And I love the blanket statements that cast aspersions on all of retailers, especially the ones that have stuck it out and contribute back to the community. Maybe you should pay a visit sometime?

    2. Loblaws!? Aren’t they more expensive than No Frills?? With so much low income housing around, loblaws lasts 6 months

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