By Ernie Nairn
The opening of the new IKEA store last November has prompted more United States retailers to look at Winnipeg as a great place to do business. With the American economy in decline, many American corporations are realizing that Canada’s growing and stable economy offers an attractive business environment and are seriously pondering establishing their own retail outlets here.
The U.S. discount retailer Marshalls announced last month that they will be opening a 28,000-square-foot store in the Polo Park North development now under construction on the former Winnipeg Arena site.
The Marshalls chain is owned by TJX Companies Inc. and is one of the leading American off-price retailers of apparel and home fashions. The chain also owns T. J. Maxx, Winners, Home Sense and Style Sense. Both Winners and Home Sense are already well-recognized retailers here in Winnipeg.
Marshalls will be one of three new retail tenants on the main floor of the three-storey, 210,000-square-foot complex.Western Financial Group will be the anchor tenant, leasing the second and third floors, as well as 4,000 square feet on the main floor.
This will be Marshalls’ first retail outlet in Manitoba and is expected to open in April 2013. They now have 14 stores in Ontario, and the company’s goal is to open between 90 to 100 stores across Canada over the next 10 years. Other U.S.-based retailers rumoured to be looking to establish retail outlets in Canada and possibly Winnipeg, include the huge fashion chain H & M; clothing and accessories retailer Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods and clothing retailer J. Crew, along with J.C Penny and Kohl’s.
The Winnipeg Airports Authority welcomed 7-Eleven and Petro Canada outlets to the international airport campus in late November. The two new retail outlets are located on Wellington Avenue at the access points to and from the airport and are open round the clock seven days a week, making them handy service providers for air travellers.
The Winnipeg Airports Authority also, on Nov. 29, held a flag raising ceremony to officially unveil a new sign acknowledging the role the Royal Canadian Air Force plays in Winnipeg. The dedicated flags were added to the “Welcome to Winnipeg” sign, and can be viewed when leaving the campus.
Ernie Nairn is president of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce.