Friday, November 28, 2008

The right business

With all this talk of an IKEA and this weird "me too!" attitude many Winnipeggers seem to have about this store, I'd like to capitalize and talk about a different store that actually represents something much bigger and better in Winnipeg, Mountain Equipment Co-op.

IKEA, furniture megastore novelty extraordinare, "might" build a store somewhere in the suburbs of Winnipeg. Meanwhile, a little blurb about MEC purchasing their unique downtown building from CentreVenture seemed to get nothing more than a head nod.

MEC did everything right. They invested in Winnipeg. They went downtown. They used an old building to do it, and retrofitted it to a LEED gold standard. They employed local architects to design their building. And most importantly, they didn't hold back.

Other companies and institutions can learn a lot from these guys. The plans and the design right from day one were to do something that would benefit the community, Winnipeg, and our downtown area.

And now they own their building. And hey, they even have a game plan. Community involvement is one of their goals. They offer equipment rentals, support local programs and donate to various environmental groups.

This should be a goal of Winnipeg's, to attract these kinds of businesses. The savvy ones. The ones that are willing to work at a community level. Their benefits are far greater than any corporate mega-conglomerate wanting to build a box store and accompanying parking lot off in suburbia. And they can help us to realize a better, cooler downtown. A downtown as a destination.

Now just what is CentreVenture going to use that money for...hmm...