A business mini-boom is taking place in downtown Glace Bay, N.S., with new businesses opening recently on McKeen Street and three more coming, says a local business group.
"We're getting some brave entrepreneurs that are going to start small businesses, they want to become independent, and they're looking at McKeen Street because it's always been a very strong part of the commercial area of Glace Bay," said Cecil Saccary, chair of the Glace Bay and Area Business Association.
McKeen was a booming place in the 1960s and '70s but fell into decline when business owners of Rosenblooms, McKeen Street Dairy and Tops Supermarket retired, he said.
"The police station relocated and the town hall relocated, so it pretty well took everything off McKeen Street."
Revitalization in the works?
Saccary said there's now what he calls a revitalization.
With limited space on Commercial Street, McKeen is "now the area that's available."
Glace Bay Variety and Styles Ahead Hair Design have moved in. A bakery and a café are slated to open soon as well.
Bernadette MacDonald, who owns Bay Health Food on Commercial Street, said she is planning to move the business to McKeen Street this spring.
"A growing community, that's really the words for it," MacDonald said.
The McKeen Street building she is considering better suits her needs, she said.
"The owner of the property that I'm looking at is very willing to do the necessary things that I need, to accommodate me [on one floor]. I have a lot of seniors. It's going to make it much easier for them."
Businesses welcome new neighbours
Kevin Somerton has operated a barber shop on McKeen Street for several years and is happy to see new interest in the area.
"It's great.... It's nice to see buildings that have plywood on the windows being taken off and opened up as a business. It increases the traffic flow."
Motorists can also park on either side of McKeen Street, making the area attractive to shoppers and businesses, he said.