A report on the feasibility of a downtown grocery store concludes subsidies may be necessary to lure a potential operator.
The report, written by former councillor and downtown grocery store operator Peter Kaufmann, states that the downtown area could support another 10,000 square-foot, full-service grocery store – similar to the one that Kaufmann used to operate.
However, Kaufmann states that because of the reluctance of banks to finance such a venture and that it would likely take several years to break even, city hall could consider creating subsidies to encourage an investor to open a grocery store operation.
"A new full-service grocery store is needed to sustain renewed downtown vitality, and it can be opened and operate(d) successfully in the downtown," Kaufmann writes in the report, which will be presented to a civic committee Monday morning.
Kaufmann does not state what kind of subsidies would be appropriate but cautions that they not undermine existing operators.
Among the report’s findings:
- $2 million is needed to stock a 10,000 square-foot grocery store.
- The best location for a new grocery store operation, based on nearby population, would be three sites along Portage Avenue: at the intersections of Colony, Vaughan and Carlton streets.
- Establish a large, year-round farmers market: 60,000-80,000 square feet, with 60-80 vendors.
- Exchange District population cannot support a full-service grocery store at this time, but the best bet for the area are a series of small, European-style, boutique or high-end specialty shops focusing on single product lines, ie bakery, cheese, deli, sweets.
- Downtown residents have a variety of food sources available to them now, mostly small convenience stores scattered throughout the area.
The report, Downtown Grocery Store Feasibility Analysis, was prepared for five downtown business organizations: CentreVenture Development Corp; Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, West End BIZ, Exchange District BIZ, and Forks North Portage Partnership.