Beechwood Village: A Market Manager's Perspective

Posted by Chris Penton on

One of the reasons I chose Beechwood Village for a new farmer’s market is its history, growth and sex appeal.

When I speak of its history, I gravitate towards the more recent years, my years of first account. My first job at the Joanisse IGA at age 13, had the Claude Tavern in the parking lot, Jimmy cutting hair, as Lester’s predecessor, across the street and the Foam store (to become Bridgehead) in full swing doing…I was never sure what . There was certainly less development along the corridor, but people ambled in and out of shops and stopped to chat. With the buzz of a small village, the juxtaposition of Vanier and Rockcliffe created a sense of acceptance and excitement.

Beechwood’s growth is typically judged by the sprouting condos, increase in housing prices and flourishing businesses. I find our area’s true power and cohesion is found in the local residents. Involved with the Vanier Community Association, I am on the ground level of its speedy metamorphasis. Creation of groups like the Beechwood Village Alliance, the Lindenlea Community Association and NECTAR, are bringing the north side of Beechwood together in a unified voice. An increase in local events, strong Councilors working together and growing amenities all make Beechwood Village an attractive place to relocate.

The sex appeal is driven by the mystery of what Beechwood Village will become, how it will mature. The standard go to is that Beechwood is the Westboro of 10-15 years ago. However, I’m not convinced that we will see a sudden flood of vegan restaurants, South American art shops and cross fit centres. In need of some basic amenities, the mix of young families, old school residents and engaged new arrivals are pushing the businesses towards things like hardware stores, diners and bakeries. This is not to say that the Nouveau Riche inhabitants won’t get their fair share of specialty shops, just that Beechwood has a few rudimentary spaces to fill. Whatever the look of the commercial front, the will of the community will certainly play a large part in its progression.

This was a year of significant scale for the Market. This was due entirely to the community rallying behind a good thing. Understanding that if no one showed up, the Market would disappear pretty quickly, folks planned their weekly shopping for Saturday mornings. Many also came to mingle, eat and relax. We provided the venue and products, but it is the drive and passion of the community that made this year a success.

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