St. Albert’s Perron District is buzzing with the opening of several new businesses, from clothing and furniture retailers to restaurants and lounges.
“It’s certainly an exciting time with more businesses coming in and some really unique and different businesses, which I think continues to attract the shoppers to St. Albert and to our Perron District,” said Darel Baker, chair of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce.
He said the city’s Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan (DARP), which was approved in 2010, along with the chamber’s Perron District Committee have contributed to downtown growth.
“We’re excited about developments as they move forward and we think the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan that’s been put together has great potential,” he said.
The DARP provides a framework for public and private development over the next 25 years. The plan detailed a need to “fill gaps” along Perron and surrounding streets.
“A critical mass of shops and restaurants will be essential to attracting significantly more visitors from the Capital Region and beyond,” the plan said.
The chamber’s Perron District Committee helps steer the future of the city’s downtown and acts as a representative for downtown businesses.
The committee meets every month between September and June to plan special events and contribute to planning and develop initiatives for downtown improvements.
Perron Street is home to three new eateries, with another setting up on adjacent St. Thomas Street.
Darren McGoewn opened up Arcadia Café & Bar, a European-style café and bar, on Perron Street in mid-April. The establishment features artwork created by local artists and offers a location for local musicians to perform.
McGoewn grew up in St. Albert and said the Perron District has always been a favourite for him and was the perfect location for his business venture.
“People seem to like the idea that we are a café and a bar,” he said. “You can come down for a beer and a glass of wine or you can come down for a latte.”
Just across the street sits Privada Wine & Tapas, which offers a wide selection of wines and scotches with complementary food pairings.
“With the revitalization of downtown St. Albert, we were hoping to get in on that and give people different places to go,” said Kaylan Como, owner.
Although the business has been in the works since January, its doors have just recently opened. Como, from St. Albert, said they hope to celebrate a grand opening in August.
Grand Lux Lounge celebrated its grand opening earlier this month at the corner of St. Thomas Street and Perron Street.
Owner Jimmy Rahime said his main focus is on providing a relaxed atmosphere with top-notch service.
“I am going for that relaxed atmosphere where people can just come here and after a long, hard, hot working day, just sit back and have a glass of wine or a cold beer,” he said.
Setting up in St. Albert wasn’t something Rahime planned on doing. Rather, he said it “just happened” after discussions with the building owner.
Later this summer, residents can expect to see a popular Italian eatery pop up downtown, as SanRemo Italian Bistro is relocating to St. Albert after more than six years at its northeast Edmonton location.
“It’s a family-owned and operated company that specializes in authentic Italian cuisine and everything is made in-house,” said owner Ermano Feliciani.
He said the business’ strong St. Albert client base as well as the strong St. Albert business community were factors in the move.
“We wanted to open a second location, but ended up shifting to St. Albert,” he said. “I really love it out there. It’s such a beautiful, nice vibe.”
The building is currently under construction and is expected to open its doors in late August.
Alberta-based custom furniture retail franchise Hudson Madison recently opened its St. Albert location on Perron Street.
The boutique store offers a wide range of custom furniture, lighting, bedding and dishes in store, with in-home consultations available.
“We’re hoping that we get a little bit of resurgence down here with retail,” said owner Camille Boyd. “We’re on the cusp of it – we have a number of new businesses. We just need foot traffic.”
Boyd said the store was a natural fit in the city, with many St. Albert clients previously travelling to the Red Deer location for purchases.
The newest business on the clothing retail front is Monjeloco Jeans Ltd, led by 32-year-old St. Albert resident Nora Furber.
The store sells a variety of women’s clothing imported from Columbia, focusing mainly on denim.
“I thought downtown St. Albert would be excellent,” she said. “I think it’s growing and the stores are so unique and beautiful and everybody has something different.”
She said there is potential that the business could expand to carry a men’s line.