The more and more I speak to people about the state of downtown Brandon, the more hope I have for the city and it’s downtown core.
Through speaking with friends, co-workers, business owners and some other important downtown people, I’ve learned that downtown Brandon used to be a great and prosperous place. Everyone was downtown. All the businesses you could think of were downtown. It was the center of Brandon. However, over time, it fell victim to what so many other cities have experienced. The urban/suburban sprawl. This brings in two of the biggest culprits of killing downtown’s all across the country, which are big box stores and chain restaurants. People seemingly gravitate towards those things, however unfortunate.
Luckily, it seems as though there is a vision for a new and better downtown core, and it’s not all talk. There seems to be some action taking place. Talking with one business owner, he was excited about the prospects of having outdoor cafe’s and not closing down the streets come next summer. Another thing that’s happening is the McKenzie Seeds building being turned into condos, which is a great investment towards the development of downtown Brandon.
And of course, you can’t forget about what’s already downtown. Today, after strolling through The Town Centre, I spotted a retro decor shop and insisted to my friend that we go in. It was fantastic (and a post about it may be coming soon!) and the owner was more than friendly. There’s also great shops like Ten Thousand Villages and The Marquis Project. And as mentioned before on this blog, good restaurants and pubs like the Chilli Chutney and Double Decker (I’ve heard some others are great, but haven’t been able to venture to those yet). These places have already started the revitalization of downtown and other businesses I hope will follow suit.
If you’re a resident of Brandon, or even the surrounding area and come to Brandon often, make sure that you’re voice is heard. You can take a survey at Renaissance Brandon and let them know what you’re thinking about downtown and how you think it can improve.
Alright, I’m stepping off the soapbox now. And no, I’m not trying to be an ambassador for Brandon. I just love downtown’s, and I really want to see this one work!