In the earlier days of Grand Falls-Windsor, Main Street was the go-to shopping area.
But as the central town grew, so did its development projects. The mall, grocery stores and other amenities were being offered off of Main Street, redirecting shoppers to other areas of town.
While businesses continued on, Mark Whiffen, chair of the town’s economic development, tourism and heritage department, feels the timing is right to once again place focus on Main Street/High Street as a focal shopping location.
“When you think about it today, people – tourist and visitors – are looking for traditional areas of town,” he said.
With a few investments, through upgrades and beautification, Whiffen feels it could return opportunities to the business strip.
He is holding a meeting with business owners next month to gauge interest in restarting the Main Street Business Association. The association, which has been defunct for a number of years, will focus on enhancing the street’s shopping experience.
“We want to hear what we can do to improve the street, perhaps return Main Street to what it once was,” he said. “It was a very happening place to do business.”
Grant Peyton, owner of Main Street businesses Grants Footwear and Grand Sports Excellence, was once part of the association.
Peyton said there has been a downturn in business in general, not just Main Street, and it likely stems from big box stores and the popularity of online shopping.
Reinventing a property, and offering new shopping experiences, is a way for small businesses to stay competitive, he said.
“You walk by a place that doesn’t appeal to you, you aren’t going to go in. The outside of a building is a first impression. If it looks nice, it’s going to entice people to come inside,” Peyton said.
“It is really good to see the town is showing some concern for Main Street,” he added.