Downtown Charlottetown businesses growing in size and number

Business is booming in downtown Charlottetown. Two new restaurants opened days ago on Great George St. — offering burgers and Thai food — adding to the growing list of places to eat in the downtown core.

2 new restaurants opened last week in downtown Charlottetown

The Kettle Black is just one of the Charlottetown businesses that has been growing since it started up over two years ago. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Business is on the upswing in downtown Charlottetown. 

Two new restaurants opened days ago on Great George Street — offering burgers and Thai food — adding to the growing list of places to eat in the downtown core. 

I think the spaces kind of offer a different experience to people.- Chris Francis

Just around the corner on Kent Street, work is underway on creating a second location for coffee shop The Kettle Black.

Penny Walsh-McGuire, executive director for the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, says there have been 200 new members join this year compared with 105 members in 2016.

Penny Walsh-McGuire, executive director for the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, says there have been 200 new members join this year compared with 105 members in 2016. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

These aren't all new businesses, but she said it seems to indicate strong business growth this year.

"We're seeing businesses expanding, from coffee shops and restaurants, we're seeing new retail outlets opening in the downtown core, and other parts of the greater Charlottetown area," she said.

"It certainly feels like larger growth. Obviously there's been huge growth in tourism over the last number of years. People are seeing the growth and they're capitalizing on that."

'Charlottetown is popping'

Mazen Aldossary, owner of The Kettle Black, said his plans for opening a second location on Kent St. was for more space.

He's been at his current location for two and a half years and has seen growth in that time.

"I came with an idea that I need to do something different, and I need to keep up," he said.

Mazen Aldossary, owner of The Kettle Black, has seen growth around Charlottetown in the nearly three years he's been in his current location. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

"Basically, we are busy."

He acknowledges his business isn't the only one growing in Charlottetown.

"Honestly like for the past three years I've been seeing downtown Charlottetown is popping," he said.

"A lot of businesses been expanded. A lot of businesses been opened."

Relieving pressure

Chris Francis, co-owner of Receiver Coffee, said they opened a second location because of a need for space for customer comfort and the option for a different menu and a new roaster. 

"I think the spaces kind of offer a different experience to people," Francis said.

"The Brass Shop location is a little slower paced, a little more spread out and a little less hectic. While the Vic Row location has a little more hustle and bustle and energy."

Francis also said during the summer, the shop became crowded with tourists and locals were having problems getting in.

Chris Francis, co-owner of Receiver Coffee, says they decided to open a new location for more space and a different atmosphere. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

"It just got hard with all the regular customers, it was hard for them to get in, get out, and kind of live their normal routine."

Francis said he thinks there is a growing trend emerging in the city's business community.

"I feel like there's been a lot of younger people diving into business and embracing Charlottetown as their home," he said.

Walsh-McGuire said growth is good news for businesses and for the area.

"I think what's fantastic is this is all driving new jobs in our community."

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