City of Prince Rupert looking to draw big name franchises, but not big box stores

The City of Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation are hoping to attract some big name businesses, but not necessarily big box stores.

The City of Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Economic Development Corporation are hoping to attract some big name businesses, but not necessarily big box stores.

Earlier this month Economic Development officer Derek Baker sent out invitations to 40 major retail companies about the growth potential and economic activity taking place in Prince Rupert, but Mayor Jack Mussallem said the intention isn’t to try and attract someone like a Canadian Tire or Wal-Mart.

“This was not done to entice big box stores to come to Prince Rupert or to revisit a big box mall at the old BC Hydro site. The purpose of the letters is to get smaller retailers…We’re all aware of the 30 to 40 vacancies in the downtown core, on Third Avenue and Second Avenue and into Cow Bay, so this is an appropriate time to increase our appeal to retailers,” he said, noting that the expansion of Ridley Terminals and the growth of the shipping and logistics sector means more work and more people are coming to town.

“With the population increasing, the goal is getting greater attention from the retail sector. As the community grows, the retail world will see greater opportunities and that gives new and existing residents a chance to spend some discretionary money here in town.”

And while the City is hoping to attract more retail to fill the empty storefronts downtown, Mayor Mussallem also said the intention isn’t to create greater competition for existing stores and businesses.

“The business community in Prince Rupert could certainly use growth and this is one way that we can both grow and diversify,” he said.

“We’re trying to attract what we don’t already have in town. For example a letter would be sent to The Gap for children’s clothes, Roots for that type of clothing or the Shoe Warehouse so there is a greater variety of shoes in town. For example we have jewellery stores, so we’re not looking for a jewellery franchise to come to town.”

As well as rounding out the retail and business community, Mayor Mussallem said he hopes that having a wider range of goods and services will help re-establish Prince Rupert as a service centre for people in the surrounding villages, Haida Gwaii and even Ketchikan in Alaska.

For his part, Baker said he sees the key to growing the retail sector to the benefit of residents and the region as a whole is to bring in the stores that are well known to the community but are currently lacking.

“What we did is go after the small and medium businesses and really focus on brand power. I think that brand power is what will bring people to Prince Rupert…We want people from Terrace and from up the corridor coming to Prince Rupert because we have the shops that they don’t have,” he said, adding that attraction of brand name stores will also benefit the existing boutique stores.

“At the franchise trade show I attended in April, there was a very positive response to Prince Rupert with several franchises showing interest and others currently looking for investors in the region.”

With the letters sent, Baker said it is now a matter of waiting.

“Most of the letters sent were to global headquarters or to head offices in Eastern Ontario, so it will take a while for them to receive the letter,” he explained.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local health authority maps are updated each week. The brown maps show the number of confirmed and active cases of COVID-19 for the week of Jan. 15 to 21, with the blue map showing cases over the past year. (Image supplied)
COVID-19 outbreak numbers increase at Acropolis and exposures are up in S.D. 52

Business COVID-19 safety plans are law, public needs to follow health protocols - Northern Health

Asher Hauknes shows his strength with Prince Rupert Gymnastics head coach Erin Hipkiss looking on Nov. 13. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Gymnastics Association benefits from Community Gaming Grant

Prince Rupert sports club to receive just less than $90,000 to build new facility

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue was dispatched to a boat fire on Jan. 21 at Fairview Marina. (Photo: supplied)
Boat fire under investigation

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue attended boat fire at Fairview Marina

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read