'It's definitely the place to be for budding young businesses': Ford City businesses booming
Allison Mistakidis says there wasn’t much going on when she moved to Ford City about seven years ago.
Now she has a lot of things to choose from: getting her hair done, tattoo, parks, bike shop, eatery and a new coffee shop.
“I was so excited Ryan opened here because it is a walkable place for coffee so that's what I'm doing and excited to go grab one,” Mistakidis said.
Ryan Natais, owner of Chance Coffee on Drouillard Road took a chance an opened up about a month ago.
“I've wanted to be on Drouillard for five years now since I started the business,” said Nantais. “Love the gritty feel of it. It's a great community to be in."
Ford City still has some of that grit but Nantais and many others feel they are helping to put that neighbourhood stigma in the past, “the stigma is being wiped away every day.”
Ford City BIA Chair Shane Potvin says a whole different crowd is descending on Ford City.
“It's a younger crowd. It's a crowd that doesn't really care or have heard of those stigmas,” he said.
Potvin says about 10 new businesses opened in the last year.
“There's more retail on the block and these stores are starting to see more people come in on a regular basis. A year ago you would not have seen that,” he said.
The Soda Pop Bros was launched in September of 2020 in the heart of the pandemic by Jeremy Kinsella, who has lived in the area for 15 years.
“It's definitely the place to be for budding young businesses and established businesses alike,” Kinsella said.
Kinsella says his business has grown exponentially in the last 12 months and has already outgrown its current place.
“We can pretty much attribute it to being in Ford City because of the support from the BIA, from the community,” he says.
Kinsella would like to keep The Soda Pop Bros in the neighbourhood but the business is outpacing the growth of Ford City.
Potvin understands businesses will come and go and wishes Kinsella continued success. He says the Drouillard area is in a holding pattern with about 10 building in different phases of renovations.
He anticipates more space will be available and another wave of activity in early 2022.
“I think next spring will be a big kinda rebirth so to speak, for us for sure,” Potvin said.
Ford City neighbourhood in Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Bob Bellacicco/CTV Windsor)