Mayor George Pirie’s State of the City address coincided with a major announcement.
During his address, Pirie announced the sale of the former Tweed & Hickory and Bucovetsky’s retail building on Third Avenue.
Due to the pandemic, the annual event, hosted by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, was held virtually over Zoom.
The mayor was tasked with giving an overall update on the city, its operations, the local economy, and hot-button issues, as well as answering questions from chamber members and the media.
After a question came about encouraging new construction and developments in the city centre as opposed to on the outskirts, Pirie was happy to state that the historic three-storey building at 227 Third Ave. will finally be undergoing major refurbishment in the near future.
Things Engraved and Bloomex are the named purchasers.
“I’m very, very excited about this,” said Pirie, adding that it is a significant announcement for the city and the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association.
Pirie said it wasn’t an easy property to sell.
“It takes a long time to find the right partner.”
He added that much of the leg work was done with another local business owner who felt there was a major opportunity at that location.
“We’ve got a good environment. The situation is improving on the ground. We've got a major corporation who says, 'Yeah, this looks like a great place to locate.’”
While it is promising news to have another retailer open up shop in the downtown core, given the current circumstances, many local businesses are struggling to keep up with bills.
Pirie said the city is doing everything it can to help, such as freezing tax payments and not implementing late fees, and said that everyone in the community has a role to play as well by making a concerted effort to shop at locally owned businesses whenever possible.
“Shop there. Yes, you can go to Walmart or whatever, I guess. No. 1, you’re not going to get the same quality of service and more than likely, you’re not going to get the same quality of goods. Help them. Stop in and shop there. Pick something up. That’s what we can all do to help. It’s not just an idle phrase ‘shop local.’”
In the meantime, renovation work on the recently purchased building is expected to begin later in 2021, and will run for approximately one year. The city said the goal is to bring the historic building “back to its former glory.”
The company said its vision is to use the space to create a multi-retail “European Market” vibe with various departments such as home decor, clothing, wedding and bridal, gardening, and floral.
Once fully operational, approximately 20 jobs will be created.
Andrew Autio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Press