I saw an ad in the Waterloo Chronicle today that we are losing yet another locally owned clothing store - Fudges (ladies clothing) in Waterloo Town Square is closing. Again - closing sale - everything is being liquidated.
The enclosed mall part of Waterloo Town Square has not done well in the past year, with many business closing up. On the other hand, the Willis Way portion where the stores have separate entrances to the street has done well and vacancies have filled up quickly. This brings up the argument: should the enclosed mall be razed? Redeveloped into office space with retail at grade? Kept as is? Hope it will turn around once again? One thing is for sure, the grocery store and Willis Way shops need to stay!
Last edited by UrbanWaterloo; 07-30-2010 at 06:58 PM.
Should be multi-storey as it was originally planned. Offices on levels above, bottom level retail. Their office space along King is all leased as far as I know. Have people working above the "mall" retail level will bring a great deal of regular traffic and be profitable for First Gulf, IMO.
I agree about the multi level. Maybe something with a few different tiers and a combination of office and residential. And the retail should wrap around the entire perimeter of WTS
Well I doubt they will tear down what was just re-done a couple years ago. What I think will help is maybe some sort of signage on King St so people know whats in there. Also hopefully Moxies will generate more people in the mall, but I don't think that is the issue considering both Cora's and Valu-Mart attract quite a bit of people.
All the stores that closed are what I would call sub standard stores. I know a lot of people here hate chain stores but I think they need some chain stores within the mall. That shoe store seems busy and so does Shoppers and that Gadgets place.
I think in time it will get more busy especially if they move away from what I would call 'senior" only stores. Have a couple because there is a lot of them in the area that shop there quite frequently. But once Barrelyards gets going, 144 Park, the42 there will be more and more people living in the area that hopefully would shop there.
Keepers is actually switching management right now and are closing the Cambridge store but keeping the Shops location.
As much as we would like to think that the Uptown core is a bustling centre of retail, the reality is that the majority of shoppers in the core live within walking distance. There is no where near a comparable level of foot traffic to the malls in the area. This is one of the main reasons the chain stores left the core. It is also one of the reasons why there is still plenty of vacant retail space available for lease in the core.
The Valu-Mart and Shopper's serve a local (within a 2k range) almost exclusively. It is my understanding that the Shopper's is considering closing the location in the future but I hope that will not happen. Also, the Valu-Mart used to be a Zehr's but was converted to the lower tier brand because it simply was not a profitable store.
More office space is a good thing but Uptown still suffers from the same problem it did 20 years ago. It is essentially a small town core serving a population base of around 10k people that has a limited number of shoppers coming in from the surrounding area. That surrounding subset becomes harder and harder to attract with the increasing suburban shopping build up occuring these days (Conestoga Mall expansion, Wal-Mart development by Farmer's Market, Ira Needles Super Plaza development).
The Cambridge cores have never recovered (and likely never will) from the disaster of HWY 24. Kitchener downtown was gutted by the Fairway road development.
The one thing Uptown has going for it, right now, is the increased density that is happening. That and true, unique attractor businesses like Vincenzo's opening in the Bauer space. Chain stores are not going to bring more people to the core. They will suck money out of it though (and then leave like they have in the past).
/rant mode off
I think higher-end Chains like Moxies will. I also think you need unique stores that draw people... things you won't find in a mall. All of the Ivanhoe and Fairview Cadillac malls are all the same crap. First Gulf needs to develop a mall/retail centre for this location that is unique if it wants to survive. It's not an easy task but I think they are on the right path for the most part. More development in the core is only going to strength things which is happening.
I agree the malls all have the same stores. Uptown like you said would need unique chains. American Apparel is a good example of that. It's not in the malls and will attract people who want to shop there. I was a little disappointed to see Coach go into Fairview mall. That would be a perfect store to put in Uptown.
If First Gulf can attract some unique chain stores it would be a huge benefit for them and Uptown. I hope that in the future if Lululemon opens a store in Waterloo it goes to Uptown.
I see something wrong with this site plan. American Apparel isn't opening on Willis Way; it's opening on King Street (unit C106 on the map, marked as vacant) beside jBU. Hardwood flooring has already been put in and product is arriving early next week. Vinyl signs have been put up in windows, and I assume a physical sign will be installed as well. AA is set to open the same day H&M will open in Conestoga Mall -- Thursday, March 18th. A pretty historic retail day in Waterloo, if you ask me
AA should encourage some Uptown foot traffic for sure!
It's like they assumed nobody from KW drove to Toronto to shop for Lululemon, and they just brought in some scraps that didn't sell at their Toronto stores. That is why I think the sales were bad. Every girl I know that is obsessed with that store didn't buy anything for that reason.
I believe they could sell quite enough to justify a store in this area if they brought in a proper store.
Also did they advertise at all? I heard about it through word of mouth. Ended up buying Christmas gifts there.
Speaking of Christmas. This past season I went to Waterloo Town Square or "The Shoppes".... majority of stores were closed at 7pm on a Wednesday. If you don't put in full effort, don't expect great returns.
Ya the hours are definitely an issue, that's for sure. The later the hours are, the more lively the core will be later in the evening.