Alongside the rows of tulips that are slowly emerging along Fifth Street, a fresh new cohort of unique businesses is springing up in Downtown Courtenay.
From gourmet mustard and military history to imported edibles and luxury real estate, these newest enterprises are ramping up local energy and changing Downtown Courtenay from a retail-only district to a much more diverse hub.
“The city centre is blossoming in ways we’ve never seen before,” says Jenny Deters, president of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association (DCBIA). “Springtime always brings a renewed sense of energy, and with it we’re welcoming some very exciting additions to the heart of Downtown Courtenay.
“The revitalized downtown core currently boasts over 240 unique businesses,” she adds. “And it’s not just shopping and restaurants – never before has Downtown Courtenay showcased such a diverse variety of vendors, boutiques, restaurants and cultural attractions.”
Among the eclectic array of newcomers are Cloves Catering, DeVine’s Emporium, The Mustard Lady, RP Copywriting, the HMCS Alberni Museum and luxury real estate marketing firm Engel & Völkers.
“The atmosphere downtown is unreal,” says Abel O’Brennan, who recently opened the Engel and Völkers office on Fifth Street. “In real estate, we always say that it’s all about location, location, location – it’s truly essential to success. And the attention, the foot traffic, the reception in Downtown Courtenay? It’s all been fantastic.”
Just a block down Fifth Street, DeVine’s Emporium sells funky ladies’ fashions, and the HMCS Alberni Society historical museum – now on Cliffe Avenue near Sixth Street – pays tribute to the Canadian servicemen and women who served on the HMCS Alberni and in other roles throughout Canada’s military history. Downtown Courtenay diners will be especially delighted that The Mustard Lady, a favourite of the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, now offers her gourmet mustard blends from a bricks and mortar store on Duncan Street, and delicatessen and imported foods emporium Cloves Catering has also taken great strides since relocating to England Avenue.
“It’s been a huge improvement,” says Cloves owner Jim Lalic, noting that the downtown business community has embraced his deli as a convenient source of quick and delicious lunches. “There’s lots of foot traffic and all sorts of people are finding out about us; they’re walking in and discovering specialty products that remind them of their childhood. We wanted to move downtown several years ago and are so glad we’re finally here.”
“It’s always great to have new businesses join our downtown Courtenay family,” says Deters. “Their enthusiasm rubs off on other businesses and re-ignites our own. There’s a definite buzz in the air – and it’s not just springtime. Everyone’s excited about the energy downtown!”
For more information on Downtown Courtenay businesses or relocating downtown, visit www.downtowncourtenay.com.