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...


J.Cotton said...

Maybe they should give that money back to the taxpayer. Great post.

cherenkov said...

This is the tricky part:
"This should be a goal of Winnipeg's, to attract these kinds of businesses."

I would love to see more MEC-type development, but what is the best way to do that? We need more businesses downtown, period. Hopefully some contribute to the extent that MEC does.

Jamie Isfeld said...

Now if only that place weren't an absolute eyesore, and were actually worth shopping in.

I'm all for supporting valuable businesses, but this one certainly isn't. Mountain equipment and Winnipeg? Bad planning.

Jasonthepear said...

The MEC building is a hideous piece of snot on the landscape of Portage Avenue and should meet it's maker via the business end of a large wrecking ball.