Opening Soon in Kingston

tilt shift photography, Kingston, OntarioOn 1 April 2008, we had a bit of fun and subsequently shattered people’s dreams with an unsupported report regarding Ikea’s decision to open a store in the Limestone City. Two years later, and our April Fool’s Day ruse remains one of Kingstonist’s most popular stories. While Kingstonian’s may be frothing at the mouth for cheap and trendy Sweedish furniture, is Ikea truly the most desired franchise that’s missing from our fair city?  From electronics giants such as Best Buy and Futureshop, to fashion retailers including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel, and decor destinations such as Pier One, Jysk, and Home Sense, Kingston is undeniably well serviced by the big boxes and brand names.  But again, what’s missing?
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One of the great aspects of Kingston’s shopping and restaurant scene is that there’s a healthy mix of exciting independents as well as the sought after brands.  While today’s post and poll question may focus on big names, I fully acknowledge the importance of our local independent business owners.  With the downtown vacancies and empty storefronts in other parts of the cities in mind, what dream store or restaurant is missing from the Limestone City?  If you answered this week’s poll “something else entirely”, here’s your chance to comment and start a grassroots campaign to bring a few new businesses to Kingston.

Thanks and credit to loungerie for the accompanying photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

11 thoughts on “Opening Soon in Kingston

  • Personally, I answered 'something else' not because I think there is a particular big chain that would help, but because, despite what you say about acknowledging the importance of independents, we've got to do more than acknowledge – we've got to actively support them. However we need a greater variety of independents that do more than appeal to tourists. There are too many pointless trinket shops and bad cafes in Kingston IMHO. H&M might be the only one that would add something because it could actually open in town – Ikea would only open out-of-town, so that's never going to help the Downtown area, rather it will just help suck more life out of it. Whole Foods would just kill Tara.

    • Point taken and for the record the most of my shopping dollars go to downtown stores/restos. Independents wherever possible, even if it means spending a few extra bucks. I agree that it would be great to have some extra niche shops downtown, but I think good business ideas are few and far between. The stores we selected for this week's poll question were chains and brands that work in other cities. The places you see in Toronto, Montreal and so forth and only wish you could have access to in Kingston. All of them could work here, but as you've pointed out each one has the potential to kill independents, and even other brands. I'd like to think that both Whole Foods and Tara could exist, but Kingston isn't quite big enough and not enough people are there yet when it comes to healthy/organic foods.

      • Northampton Massachusetts is an area much smaller than Kingston (as is Portland Maine). Both have a Whole Foods (jokingly called Whole Paycheck…) and various organic markets. They thrive because its a college area that spawns an educated community and progressive people who care about good food. Many of the markets in the U.S. where Whole Foods has a presence are much smaller than the Kingston metro.

  • I'm with flying monkey on 'something else'. We have quite enough corporate purveyors of clap-trap. We need more local, independent, clap-trap. Lee Valley, perhaps.

    I can't ever see IKEA opening here for the simple reason that they don't need to. Why spend millions building, outfitting and staffing a new store here when we have four within easy driving distance?

    • I'm always hearing about how awesome Lee Valley is, but I've yet to make the trip. I imagine a lot of folks would agree that they'd be a great addition to the local business scene.

      Why build an Ikea when there's at least four within driving distance? It all comes down to profit. Try telling the good folks in Burlington they don't need an Ikea because there's already stores in Etobicoke, North York and Vaughan. Apples and oranges in terms of population, but the driving distance is even less of an issue in the GTA. As soon as Ikea is able to determine that a store in Kingston will make money, we'll be getting one. And we'll love it.

  • Lee Valley and MEC! Ooo, and a music store that sells old, beautiful instruments and has a huge selection of sheet music. With a symphony orchestra (who's musicians teach over 500 private music students combined), a University School of Music and an ever-growing Youth Orchestra, a great store downtown would be a huge asset – and could be locally owned.

    • +1 for MEC. I am honestly embarrassed that place didn't even come to mind when we were thinking of possible desirables.

  • Nando's always did a nice spicy chicken.
    California Sandwiches makes good veal and should come here.
    And on the sandwich theme, where can I get a good pulled-pork sandwich takeout?
    For dessert, Krispy Kreme, I'm looking at you.
    Tullys for coffee.
    Now I'm hungry.

    • This is the second mention of this mystical Nando's chicken place. Where is it, why is so good? Is it anything like Swiss Chalet or St Hubert?

  • It's Portuguese style chicken. Good spices. Peri peri sauce. Good side dishes of rice etc.. . It's more popular out west (in B.C.), but I think that there's a Nando's in Ottawa or Toronto as well.

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