Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Osborne Village was already in a stubborn slump before pandemic measures extinguished what street life remained and businesses that brought people to the strip were forced to close in April.
Posted: 13/05/2020 10:31 PM
ANOTHER Winnipeg restaurant — this time a high-profile Osborne Village eatery — is closing permanently. It had been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
Segovia, known for its Spanish-influenced small plates, announced on its Instagram account Wednesday it is going out of business.
Now, with the loss of popular dinner spot Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Stradbrook Avenue, remaining business owners are holding on to hope the neighbourhood will bounce back from the economic shutdown.
"The attraction of Osborne Village is it’s made up of individual owners, small businesses and we don’t have a plethora of franchise restaurants," said Brian Timmerman, executive director of the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone.
"With the pandemic, we’ve been keeping our ears to the ground to make sure that if something is happening, like with Segovia, we take that into consideration," he said. "So when, hopefully, the pandemic works itself through, we’re prepared to service the owners that are coming back to the stores."
On Wednesday, the owners of Segovia announced the restaurant would not reopen its doors when public health orders are eventually lifted.
View this post on Instagram
Hello. We are terribly sad to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to close the big wooden doors at Segovia permanently. We want to thank all of our staff, suppliers and guests for making Segovia such a beautiful and special place for us all. We will miss this little restaurant and cherish the memories that were made here. We are sad that we didn’t get to have a really good closing up party and that we served our last service without knowing that it was our last. We are so proud to have been a part of Winnipeg’s inspiring culinary scene for over a decade. Thank you for having us. All the best to each and every one of you that have graced our tables. May your plates and cups always be full of the good stuff! ��Olé! We would love if you would drop some of your favourite Segovia memories below in the comments for us ��
Another permanent business closure in the neighbourhood stings, Baked Expectations owner Beth Grubert said. Segovia had been a family-favourite dining spot in addition to being a great commercial neighbour, she said.
"Any closure, especially one like that is hard to take and certainly sad and these times are so trying that it’s very difficult to see that kind of thing," Grubert said.
She said she’s seen businesses come and go, and is optimistic one or more clever entrepreneurs could be successful in the Village when the economy is favourable. She’s also counting on people to support the urban village concept when more businesses reopen.
"The Village has been cyclical for all 37 years that I've been here and we go through ups and downs, and there’s no question that even before the pandemic we were in a bit of a down," Grubert said. "Times like this are very trying and difficult, but because I’ve seen so many comebacks I have faith.
"People are going to show their creative sides," she said. "They’re going to have to figure out what to do to keep it going."
Osborne Village seemed to be rounding the corner on its chronic vacancy issues right before the pandemic struck, Timmerman said. Local spin studio Saikel had recently joined the neighbourhood and Mary Brown’s Chicken is set to open near Tokyo Smoke on Stradbrook Avenue.
The owners of Toad in the Hole pub received occupancy permits and operating licenses for their new location right before public health orders halted beer from flowing. And down the road, renovations are complete on the new Pho Hoang and Rollesque location, owner Tom Hoang said.
He planned to open the dining room for service in April but the pandemic has temporarily paused those plans. However, the Osborne location will open for take out and delivery on May 22, he said.
Real estate broker and property manager Graeme Rowswell confirmed a dental office will also open where Into the Music used to be as soon as possible.
The demolition this spring of the former Osborne Village Motor Inn, which sat empty for years, has also buoyed BIZ members, Timmerman said. The property is being developed into a mixed-use residential complex with 207 rental apartments and ground floor commercial units.
"We are undergoing some sort of transition period in Osborne village," Timmerman said.
A few big holes in the Osborne streetscape remain, including the expansive space that formerly housed the Toad at 112 Osborne St., which Premier Property Solutions president Nik Fast is hoping to fill.
"Since the pandemic, the phone calls and inquiries have slowed down, and I think everyone is nervous," Fast said. "We’re willing to work with anyone who comes along with a good idea and a plan and is reasonable in their expectations."
Fast said he’s close to reaching an agreement with a tenant who plans to bring a pub concept back into a portion of the building.
"We need to get through this pandemic, whatever that means, and if that’s open for business like before, that’d be amazing," he said. "But if we can at least get open for business and we have people moving into the vacant spaces — I think landlords and tenants are going to have to work together to make it happen so it works for both parties."
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.
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