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Aug. 8, 2020 | Saturday
Local News
Village grocery store gets green light after Loblaw settlement
John Hawley, president of Traditional Neighbourhood Developments Inc. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

A new grocery store in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a go.

John Hawley, president of Traditional Neighbourhood Developments Inc., said the company got the green light to proceed with the development near Garrison Village on May 7, after reaching a settlement with Loblaw Companies Limited.

Last year, in addition to the existing zoning for the land, Hawley asked town council for permission to build a hotel and a grocery store in The Village Centre. The town approved Hawley’s request but Loblaw then appealed the inclusion of a grocery store to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Hawley had previously signed a decades-long agreement with Loblaw not to open a grocery store in the location. During the public meeting for the Village development on Aug. 7, 2018, Hawley said his company was tossing that agreement to the wind.

Loblaw requested a market study to determine if there is a need for another grocer in town, said Hawley. After his company hired the consultants to conduct a study, he said it was confirmed there was a need and Loblaw then abandoned the appeal.

“Was competition a factor? No doubt,” Hawley told The Lake Report. “But they were very good in the final analysis, they were very reasonable. Once they saw the market study, they were fine.”

The grocery store is planned to be part of a larger development on the seven acres of land located at the corner of Niven and Niagara Stone roads. The project will also include a boutique 60-unit hotel, a restaurant, a grocer, a performance centre with 300 to 400 seats, as well as a number of retail shops in and around the hotel.

The new store will be more “upscale,” mostly targeted to the people in town wanting a “higher-end shopping experience,” said Hawley.

By opening another grocery store, Hawley said he hopes to “fill in a niche” by bringing people who shop outside NOTL back to town, as the market study showed there were residents who drive to other places to shop.

“We hope to pull them back to shop in town,” said Hawley, adding he hopes to find the right grocer who will work with local farmers to bring a different experience to NOTL shoppers.

“It will offer something different, a different experience than the two Valu-marts,” said Hawley. He praised those two grocery stores, which operate under one of Loblaw’s banners, and added that “there is enough room for another small grocer.”

After the drawings and the plans are finished, Hawley said he hopes to start building next summer and, with the construction taking about nine to 12 months, to have the centre open in mid-2021.