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Empty Downtown Storefronts Need Tenants

Empty Downtown Storefronts Need Tenants


Sadly, Midland has more than its share of vacant stores along King Street.  Several municipalities finding themselves in the same position have resolved the vacant store syndrome with a very positive approach to attracting more shops and stores.  

More than one business rents a vacant store, often as many as three or four.  We can see this in the Georgian Shoppes mini mall.  It would be perfect for those forced to leave the Mountainview Mall and wanting to stay alive elsewhere in the community and thus not losing their valuable customers.  It would be a win-win proposition when one considers all the facts.  

Keeping the downtown core alive and viable certainly is the key to any communities’ commercial life and well being.

As has been pointed out in this story, the proposal is nothing short of a win-win proposition….let’s make this a community effort.  

What’s keeping tenants from filling those shops?  Are the rents too high?  Are the spaces in need of repair?  Do the landlords prefer empty units?  This should be a team effort by landlords, the BIA and the Town of Midland to revitalize the core before the tourist season begins.


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  1. How about a team effort by more Midlanders to actually shop downtown? Can the writer tell me what towns have resolved these issues permanently and how? While i don’t agree with the town and BIA on many issues, this is not their fault. Perhaps Midlanders should look at themselves and ask when was the last time they shopped downtown? If more people shop downtown there will be more businesses willing to take a chance. Dont try to pass the buck on this one.

  2. Yes but if more Midlanders put their money where there mouths are and shopped downtown consistently, then more businesses would open downtown, no matter the rent.

  3. People shopped downtown when the services and goods they wanted/needed were found downtown. Move the goods and services outside the downtown area and people follow. Back in the ‘days’, there was a movie theatre, jewellry stores, flower shops, furniture stores, appliances, music, Peoples, Woolworths, Edwards, Keenans and other clothing stores, shoe stores, billiards room, the local YMCA and yes even at one time, a hotel. Imagine Walmart, Boston Pizza, Marks, Bulk Food, Giant Tiger, Dollar Store and Tim Hortons etc on the main street? What would the difference be if they had moved somewhere within the downtown centre instead of outside the core – more walkability? More services and retail closer together, more foot traffic? Better profitability from tourists? Perhaps opportunity for youth entertainment or tourist attractions? Midland has little cohesion when there are strip malls all around the outside of the town and then a main street. People aren’t walking all over town to get the things they need – if they are concentrated into a smaller area, people will visit that space, especially when they have to drive. Just an observation –

  4. my family has had businesses and properties in downtown midland since 1952, i currently own 2 downtown properties and 3 downtown businesses. here’s my 2 cents. the downtown has been hurting for some time now. here’s why. 1) the rent is too high, the buildings are run down. yes because of high property and BIA taxes, owners have to charge high rent to pay for these taxes, and with no reliable tenants, owners have no capital to fix up their buildings. 2) big box stores. not too many good jobs in midland, so people have to find the best deals, which are at the box stores. Downtown midland has too many expensive nic nac stores. 3) paid parking and parking tickets. this is chasing shoppers away from downtown. you cant imagine how many of my customers say “sorry i cant stay, my meter is up.”

  5. i own and started GEORGIAN VIEW SHOPPES. i didnt want to abandand my store and put a for lease sign up like everyone else. i got rid of a dive pizza joint and turned it into a new shopping concept in a fully renovated building, plus this started 7 new businesses and gave 9 people jobs. think the town appriceated this or even say thank you. NO.

  6. I am wondering something though – Waypoint and presumably the town council cited proximity to downtown as one of their reasons for building on Edgehill parkland. If I recall, they said that building a facility elsewhere would pose a hardship on the people needing to use it – and so, if the downtown area is already in decline and has been for some time, what proposal has council or the BIA put forth to draw all those people into the core to shop etc? What is their plan to revitalize the main street and make it sustainable as part of the Waypoint building plan?

  7. I just wanted to say that David has done a great job and he should be taken as a positive example of what a forward thinking individual can do and what a good landlord is. He always goes above and beyond for his tenants and offers a very affordable rent and reasonable conditions.It is a shame that neither the town nor the Midland Mirror has ever shone a light upon or acknowledged his innovative contribution to downtown! It would also make a great article for midland community.ca (hint, hint).

    1. Day to day families don’t need groceries, clothing, furniture? Please tell me how these stores are only for tourists. I also saw you comment that you had a tough time with a stroller.. I’ve been downtown with a stroller and had zero issues. What did you find the issues were with a stroller?

    2. I agree, not all stores are for tourists, and you don’t need to sell nik naks to be a tourist store…. The average person cannot afford to shop at the “specialty” stores, tourists do because they are unique. I can’t afford to shop at the clothing & furniture stores. I do buy my groceries, go to church, bank, visit the MCC, all downtown.

    3. i looked for a coat rack downtown one time, i found one for $300 at sc. lol. so i went to walmart and bought one for $35

  8. I used to work for a business downtown. We spent a lot ofenergy dealing with problems with the building ( roofing issues, bricks falling off, heating and air conditioning, water problems and structural issues) and tenants above us. Its hard enough to make a mark with a business without struggling with landlords. It has to start with them.

  9. True, and graffiti sprayed on the outside of store walls – I worked at Orr’s Jewellers, now the Bell store. That walkway between us and the then Edwards Mall was bad for that. I have also worked for another downtown business.

  10. yes you are 100% right lisa rose. there are a lot of greedy landlords downtown. they put all the rent in their pockets, not in their buildings.

  11. plus, after paying tens of thousands of dollars for taxes each and every year, no wonder these buildings need attention

  12. The buildings are in such a state that anyone buying them are looking at large expenses for repairs. There is also the possibility that banks are approving sales of these properties to people who simply do not have the additional funds for the necessary improvements. Lots of causes for these problems. I love the work done at Georgian Bay Shops…the property looks good, and I love the ingenuity that went into the floor plan/ rental options. Hopefully Midland will be lucky enough to attract more landlords like this.

  13. What David Lee has done is great, it’s like a small business incubator. The big problem as a former business building owner downtown are the high taxes. The $300,000 building I owned paid $1,000 a month in taxes which creates two huge problems, it makes rent too high and decreases building value. That reduces business investment interest. Two other major factors are demand for buildings, and that is created by having a growing population and affluent jobs. If there is no profit to be had, the investment dollars go elsewhere and buildings decay. David Lee beats the system as he is able to spread the tax bill around more tenants. Way to go David! As for your nasty comment on greedy landlords downtown I can only say this… It’s always the other guy that is greedy. Landlords aren’t driven by virtue, they are driven by dollars.

  14. Yet another store is closing in downtown Midland which sadly leaves yet another hole in town’s shopping centre. Midland is not unlike most other town’s its size in the nation. As communities under 20,000 are learning it is difficult to keep current by offering quality schools, hospitals, sports and recreation centres and more. The one thing we do have are tourist attractions, dozens and dozens in North Simcoe. We need to convince day visitors to stay a day or two longer. Here’s where local attractions can offer more than one attraction for the price of one. Fresh ideas are always welcome….the butter tart festival has been a real game changer; how about a Rib-fest, a visiting clowns competition, former CKMP announcers staging a 24 hour radio broadcast at the ball diamonds….? The sky’s the limit….we also need to promote the fact that we are located at the Gateway to the 30,000; that North America’s first ever Christmas Carol was penned at Ste Marie among the Hurons in approx 1642. We have lots to be proud of and promote….do we not?

  15. What kind of business do you all feel Midland needs and can support at this time? My husband and I gave considered starting some form of business and naturally we want it to be succcessful an be able to survive long term. The condtion of the buildings and high rent are really scaring us off. Your comments on these issues please. Thank you. We love Midland and shop downtown all the time.

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Empty Downtown Storefronts Need Tenants

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