Ken Schliemann stands outside his new showroom for New Energy Kreations, with Array Hair Studio reflected in the window. Photo by John Barclay

by John Barclay,
Executive Director of the Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area

Let me start by saying: I know I’m going to forget someone, but there’s been so much new investment going on downtown over the past six months that it’s been a challenge to keep track of it.

It’s hard to pin-point exactly when the turnaround downtown started, as it started slowly. I’ll say it was about two years ago, when Array Hair Studio opened across from Geronimo Coffee House, at 201 Prescott. Array brought a nice upscale business that seemed to fit everyone’s vision of what Old Town Kemptville could be. Then Teri and Lee McIlvenna bought and developed Geronimo’s into a thriving business that’s not only open earlier, but now seven days a week. Recently, Array has moved a bit north and bought the building at 115 Prescott, across from the CIBC. Like To Be Continued’s second expansion in four years, it’s another concrete example of confidence in the future of downtown Kemptville.

Since January of this year, however, the pace has picked up noticeably. Next door to Array’s new location, we’ve seen 113 Prescott, the former Kemptville Advance building, leased to the professional engineers of ISI Controls Inc. Setanta Solutions Inc., another professional IT service, now occupies 206C Prescott, just south of Voice2Net, which opened last year at 200 Prescott. Exit Realty By Design celebrated the Grand Opening of their realty office this Wednesday at 310 Prescott, and Integrated Business Solutions Group is in the process of opening offices at 28 Clothier Street East. Up in the Rideau-Sanders Triangle, Andrew Beveridge CPA opened shop at 200 Sanders, and across the street, at 215 Sanders, the North Grenville Times now has an office on the ground floor (side entrance).

The new growth downtown hasn’t all been just professional services, however. We have new investment downtown through new owners of the mixed martial arts studio (formerly Tekken MMA), Brewing Oasis, the South Branch Bistro (formerly the Branch Restaurant) and the Clothier Mills Motel across the street. The Bowen Approach is now located at 3 Clothier, and Get Cronk’d, a new fitness business at 9 Clothier (behind), has just hired a new trainer! GlowSport – Kemptville, The Glow Entertainment Company, is opening at 29 Clothier Street East.

By the Prescott Bridge, both 10A and 10B Prescott have been leased – look for a number of innovative businesses housed at those locations opening soon. The Prim Shed at 419 Rideau Street, and the Posh Plum at 207 Prescott, opened just a few months ago. Just last week, New Energy Kreations began renovations of a new showroom at 132 Prescott, which will greatly improve the streetscape of that section of Prescott; in other words, the broken window has been replaced.

We all look forward to see what will occupy the former Butler’s Victorian Pantry (currently being renovated by new owners) and who will be the new tenants of the vacant storefronts recently leased, such as Array’s former location. The BIA will be working hard this Fall and Winter to help fill the last of the available commercial spaces downtown. Look for even more Grand Openings in the months to come.

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