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Most Anticipated New Business in Kingston

Mandarin, Lee Valley Tools, Don Cherry's Sports Grill, Red House, Small Batch, Kingston, OntarioThe ebb and flow of Kingston’s business landscape is constantly changing and rarely predictable.  Recently, our storied downtown bid a final farewell to Dover’s, Tweed and Hickory, and Rockit Boutique, all of whom closed up shop for good.  With massive holes still remaining downtown thanks to the departure of Indigo and Empire Theatres, the closure of Just HiFi and all the rest, it’s often easy to get discouraged by the seemingly growing number of vacancies and dollar stores.

While I have spent a great deal of time lamenting over various departures and closures in downtown Kingston, in recent months, we have also seen a pair of massive corporate retailers pull out of the west end.  The behemoth US retail chain, Target, shuttered their doors at the Cataraqui Town Centre on April 2nd due to anemic sales north of the border, while this resulted in 100 local employees being laid off.  Additionally, one of the RioCan’s original big box tenants, Future Shop, permanently shut their doors in late January 2015 due to a consolidation of the business with Best Buy.

Thinking about the state of Kingston’s retail and restaurant scene, perhaps the important thing to keep in mind is that one businesses’ liquidation sale represents another businesses’ golden opportunity to expand or otherwise move into the market.  Take for instance Williamsville, which has survived both fiery inferno and a prolonged big dig of their own. This portion of upper Princess is finally anticipating positive grown thanks to a large residential development, which has attracted a new sports bar and restaurant chain named after Kingston’s controversial son, Don Cherry.  A vacant big box-esque space at the Frontenac Mall will soon welcome tour buses to buffet style Chinese food served by Mandarin.  Finally, a box of smaller proportions out near the Invista Centre is also gearing up for change, as it is set to become the second location for the beloved Red House.  With these confirmed developments and new stores in mind, this week’s poll asks:

Which new/future business in Kingston are you most excited about?

  • Lee Valley Tools (41%, 148 Votes)
  • Mandarin (26%, 95 Votes)
  • Red House (13%, 47 Votes)
  • The Small Batch Cafe & Eatery (9%, 31 Votes)
  • Don Cherry's Sports Grill (6%, 23 Votes)
  • LCBO at King's Crossing (5%, 17 Votes)
  • Something Else Entirely. (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 363

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Personally, I think the second location for Red House is the most promising new business story on Kingston’s horizon.  I am really looking forward to seeing how the popularity of their beautiful downtown location translates to the west end.  A close runner-up is definitely Lee Valley Tools, a celebrated Canadian business whose owner is both an RMC and Queen’s grad.  What new business are you looking forward to seeing open in Kingston?  Better yet, what great idea do you have to add a much needed business to the local economy?

Photo credit to Nick.

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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...

6 thoughts on “Most Anticipated New Business in Kingston

  • May 11, 2015 at 8:58 am
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    It's pretty depressing when the choice of what to be excited about even includes Don Cherry's Sport Bar and another LCBO…

  • May 11, 2015 at 10:06 am
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    How about celebrating the new, and very local, (Belleville store and Kingston store) Bridle Path Tack Shop and clothing store that has recently moved into its 1356 Princess Street location? This company has been serving the needs of equestrian riders since 1991 has the most impressive display of both English and Western wear, especially boots which are coveted by riders and non riders alike. The service is friendly and inviting, and the staff always goes the extra mile to accommodate the needs of the shopper. Bridle Path Tack Shop also generously supports local horse shows and clinics.

  • May 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm
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    Downtown Kingston is sadly lacking a great gift store – somewhere all in one to buy candles, soaps, jewellery, clothing, kitchen stuff – the type of stores Perth or Stratford has in spades. Would also love to see a local food store that sells everything including meat, produce, bread and lots of gourmet goodies but not at extortionate prices.

    • June 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm
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      Verde downtown has pretty much everything you mention-I go there to buy gifts all the time. Between them, Send in the Clowns and Van Der Voorts you should be covered, and all of those are within a block.

      And Tara should meet your local food needs, plus the outdoor market in Market Square 3 times a week. The odd trip to Pan Chancho and Cooks doesn't hurt.

      Maybe you need to spend more quality time downtown?

  • May 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm
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    Red House does very good business downtown. On most Saturday nights, it is almost at capacity. It is a good sign to see a locally owned business expanding its footprint to perhaps attract a new crowd in Kingston's West-End. Hopefully more Kingstonians will spend their money in locally owned establishments and keep our economy healthy.

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