Plans for a micro market downtown are shaping up fast, and the city will have them ready to go by summer.
On Friday, the city held an information meeting at the library to present the idea and get public feedback on plans to install a series of small storefronts downtown for small businesses to get greater exposure.
Erin Neely, the city’s economic development officer, says the micro-market will help small businesses find new customers.
“That’s our hope, is that they’re given the opportunity to put their feet in the water, to test out a retail environment, without drowning under the complications of a whole brick-and-mortar location,” she says. “It’s a stepping-stone to growing their business.”
The market is aimed at small and home-based businesses, providing them with an eight-by-10-foot space to set up shop. She adds that locating them near other downtown businesses will hopefully attract more people to shop downtown in general.
The two locations under consideration are the triangular patch of land on the north side of the art gallery, and Robert Ostler Park.
Neely says the city is aware of security concerns, given the locations proposed downtown are often frequented by people using drugs and experiencing homelessness. The city has already budgeted to hire more downtown safety officers and increase patrols, and she adds having more people shopping downtown will help change the atmosphere.
The funding for the project is all coming through provincial and Island Coastal Economic Trust grants.
The city is collecting public feedback until Tuesday, visit the website for more information and to leave your comments.