Calvin To speaks with business owners who say downtown Victoria is the ideal location to set up shop in the third instalment of Downtown 2020 – The New Victoria.
When Logan Smith opened Ravenstone Farm Artisan Meats at the Victoria Public Market about three years ago, it was nowhere near as busy as it is now. These days, the market is bustling with activity.
Most of his customers are local, either working or living in downtown Victoria.
“There’s lots of events that we have going on here, a lot of people just come down for coffee and hang out, and come in after work and pick up their nightly groceries,” Smith said.
Down the hall, The Very Good Butchers, now just three months old, is preparing to move to a bigger storefront in the same complex.
Owner James Davison says he would encourage other business owners who are considering moving downtown to take the plunge.
“In the summer, there’s a lot of traffic here, so I think you will do well if you have a good product, I think people will come and buy it for sure. It’s a good place to be,” Davison says.
The Victoria Public Market is just one of many areas that are benefiting from high foot traffic.
At the corner of Fort Street and Blanshard Street, one of Victoria’s newest Restaurants, Tulip Cafe and Rice Bar, recently opened.
The owner, Megan Sam, says the diverse and busy atmosphere is the perfect place to serve international fusion.
“It just has a totally different vibe, and it’s a happy, energetic environment,” Sam said.
But it’s not just the service industry that is finding downtown to be an ideal location.
Garrett Townsend runs his tech startup, SaleSpark, out of VIATEC’s Fort Techtoria, a business incubator that is free for many of its users.
Townsend says Victoria’s supportive tech community makes up for the city’s high cost of living.
“Victoria has a lot of talent here that companies are able to draw from,” Townsend said.
“So when you send out a job posting in Victoria, you’re going to get very different responses than you would in 100 Mile House or something like that,”