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Downtown Courtenay: The New ‘Big City’? 

Downtown Courtenay: the new ‘Big City’? 

Anyone shopping downtown this holiday season would be forgiven for forgetting where they are for a moment – Downtown Courtenay has suddenly taken on a noticeably “big city” flavour this winter.

While the holiday season always promises plenty of activity in Courtenay’s vibrant city centre, a recent influx of new businesses and other developments have truly added to the bustle of Courtenay’s boutique shopping district. Since the summer, half a dozen new enterprises have opened their doors downtown, adding to an already diverse network of shopping options for Comox Valley residents.

“People are loving the new additions to our distinctive downtown,” says Jenny Deters, president of the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association (DCBIA). “The excitement and energy they bring to the area adds to a great group of existing businesses and makes Christmas shopping that much more easy and enjoyable. Everyone ends up benefitting – especially our customers!”

Greg Masuda, co-owner of the Nikkei Ramen-Ya on Fifth Street, is just one of several new business owners injecting an urban vibe into Downtown Courtenay.  

Greg Masuda, co-owner of the Nikkei Ramen-Ya on Fifth Street, is just one of several new business owners injecting an urban vibe into Downtown Courtenay.

Retail outlet Rally Co. and pop-up shops Devine Emporium and States of Summer are all enjoying their first holiday shopping season downtown, and Cloves Catering is settling in to its new location on England Avenue. For hungry shoppers, not one, but two, noodle-themed restaurants – the Noodle Joint and Nikkei Ramen-ya – are serving up quick and delicious Asian-inspired meals with a decidedly urban feel.

“For my business, there was really nowhere else to be,” says Aspen Marshman, owner of Rally Co. “So when I had the opportunity to get this newly renovated, beautiful retail space on Fifth Street, I jumped at the chance. It’s just such a great location; things are growing and new stuff is happening all the time.”

In addition to new businesses, the past few months have seen a number of exciting expansion and development opportunities downtown – on Fifth Street in particular.

In November, Jim’s Clothes Closet moved next door from its former location into a larger retail space. Across the street, in the next block up, a new real estate office is getting ready to open in the space that used to be ABC Books/Inner Sanctum. Perhaps most exciting, however, is the work taking place above Walker 24 Menswear on the corner of Fifth Street and England Avenue. The space will see the addition of numerous new apartments, which will not only help with the area’s low housing availability but also add to the vibrancy of Courtenay’s downtown core.

“Between all the new shops, the new mural and the new housing development, there’s a lot of excitement downtown,” notes Deters. “And there’s no sign of things letting up any time soon. I think we’re all looking forward to what the new year will bring.”

For more information on the new businesses and others, as well as upcoming events, visit


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