Downtown business owners share wishlists ahead of 2018 budget

Lights in alleys, more students shopping and better communication between the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association and city staff are on the wish list of business owners in the city's core.

DWBIA chair Larry Horwitz is planning to meet with downtown merchants three afternoons this week

The DWBIA is planning to ask business owners what they want to see included in the organization's 2018 budget. (CBC File Photo)

Lights in alleys, more students shopping and better communication between the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association and city staff are on the wish list of business owners in the city's core.

DWBIA chair Larry Horwitz is planning to meet with downtown merchants three afternoons this week to ask them what they want included in the 2018 municipal and BIA budgets.

CBC News spoke with several business owners to get their thoughts on what downtown needs before the meetings. 

Here's what they said.

Ali Ahmed

Ali Ahmed from Pushers Collective said radio ads could help attract customers from Detroit. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

As the owner of Pushers Collective, a six-business complex that includes a hookah bar, recording studio and barber shop, Ahmed said bringing more students downtown will breathe new life into the area.

"The downtown is kind of dead so if they could speed up the process of bringing students downtown, giving more incentives for people to come downtown ... that would help," he said. 

Ahmed added radio ads could also help bring shoppers from Detroit to Windsor.

Mark Boscariol

Restaurateur Mark Boscariol said Downtown Windsor needs to do the little things right. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Boscariol owns two downtown restaurants — Downtown Pizza Co. and Snackbar-B-Q. He said better communication between the city and DWBIA is key moving forward.

"I'd really like to see the city sit down with the DWBIA and have a 'who should be doing what' committee,'" he said. "Right now you have a lot of duplication of services."

The restaurateur said little things, such as creative bike racks and better signage, could make all the difference to downtown.

"Everybody wants some silver bullet, magic wand solutions, but it's really all the little things."

Henry Kim

Henry Kim said the alley behind Cafe March 21 needs better lighting to scare off potential break-ins. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Cafe March 21 owner Henry Kim said the alley behind his Pelissier Street location has been the site of several nighttime break-in attempts. The passageway is also covered in cool murals, but because there's no lighting the artworks are rarely seen.

"We have awesome murals, but without the lighting it's really dark and scary almost," he said. "Lighting would prevent crime."

Kim said building more residential space downtown would also help the area thrive.