Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/11/2008 (4003 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The roughly three-block stretch of Corydon between Renfrew and Centennial streets is much smaller than its well-known retail cousin to the east — the roughly eight-block stretch of Corydon between Pembina Highway and Stafford Street. That area is often referred to as Little Italy because of its high number of Italian bars and restaurants.
This other stretch of Corydon — it doesn't have a catchy name yet — already boasts more than 25 commercial establishments. But it's an eclectic mix of businesses that isn't dominated by any particular type of retailer that would provide it with an instant identity in the minds of consumers.
But that could soon change if the owners of one of the area's longtime businesses — Diamond Gallery — have their way.
Allan and Anita Malbranck are building an 11,000-square-foot retail/office complex on the northwest corner of Corydon and Lanark. They plan to fill the two-storey building with three or four "luxury" retail boutiques on the main floor— outlets like clothing and shoe stores — and one or two professional offices on the second floor.
Allan Malbranck said they're hoping their development at 1735 Corydon will act as a catalyst for other new commercial developments and help attract other upscale, "destination" retailers to the neighbourhood. "We're hoping it will become a wonderful area to walk along and shop...."
That kind of talk is music to the ears of some of the other merchants along the strip, who share the Malbrancks' vision for the area.
"We're also regarded as a destination store," Vittorio Rossi, owner of Vittorio Rossi Clothiers, said in an interview. "So we welcome it."
Rossi, whose upscale men's clothing store has been a fixture on the strip since 1988, said the area is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.
"For the longest time it was pretty dormant, but in the last little while there has been more activity," he said. "So we all feel pretty positive about it. There's no question there will be some other interesting businesses opening up within this area."
One of the newcomers to the area is Luxe Label, an upscale women's clothing boutique that opened about three months ago in a renovated building at 1693 Corydon.
Jennifer Woo said she and business partner Shirley Wong looked at a number of areas in the city before settling on River Heights.
"We chose this location because we felt it was the kind of target market we wanted," she said. "The area is more of an affluent area, so there's a good mesh (with the kind of higher-end products they offer)."
Woo said they also regard the strip as a destination area because many of the local businesses seem to have a lot of repeat customers. "And that was what we were looking for as well," she said.
The Malbrancks will be relocating their own jewelry store to the new building, which is now under construction and should be complete by next February. The 1,400 square feet of space they'll have in the new building will be nearly double the space they currently lease in a building a few doors down the street at 1705 Corydon.
Malbranck said another reason they're undertaking this new development — he wouldn't disclose how much it's costing them — is there was no room to expand at their current location and they wanted to stay in the area.
"It's just such a welcoming and warm community. And it still seems like it's one of the best-kept secrets in Winnipeg."