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Victoria retail thread: retailer news, comings and goings


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#61 gumgum

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:47 AM

Why do I recognize her name?

#62 Mike K.

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:03 AM

She's one of the regulars at City Hall, and best known for her "no native barbecues at beacon hill park" and "we should build parks for the blind" comments.

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#63 Mike K.

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:22 AM

Lower Johnson stands up
Band of 37 businesses want to become a shopping destination


Times Colonist staff

Businesses in the 500 block of Johnson Street are banding together to give their unique collection of downtown stores a new name.

The 37 businesses — known for their colourful exteriors and eclectic products, and nearly all locally owned — say they are a shopping destination and want to brand Lower Johnson with banners and street signs in the same way Fort Street has with Antique Row and Fisgard has with Historic Chinatown.

The destination would be added to tourism rack cards and other advertising to draw shoppers, organizers said.

Dree Pike of The Fix hair salon says stores will be setting up ballot boxes for shoppers to vote for a new name. Some of the ideas being tossed about are Fashion 500, HeritEdge Boutiques or, as one shop owner suggested yesterday, “just plain LoJo.”

Fashion is chief among the mix of stores, but there are several specialty shops including a “Green Alliance” of stores selling environmentally friendly products, iconic Jeune Bros., which sells nautical sails, tents and awnings, novelty store Zydeco and Converse shoe retailer Baggins, whose owner Glen Lynch has operated in the area continuously since 1969.

“It’s Olde Towne to me, but there’s new people, young people here and they’ve got energy and that’s good,” said Lynch. “This kind of thing certainly can’t hurt.”

Julie Higginson, co-owner of Smoking Lily fashions, said she is all for the branding idea and would like to see it go further as an organization to address issues such as homelessness. For example, owners could use the brand to hold sidewalk sales with portions of proceeds going to the Open Door or Salvation Army, she said.

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#64 G-Man

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:54 AM

Why do they always seem to leave the 600 block out of the mix when they talk about Lower Johnson. It has an eclectic mix as well and also some great ethnic restaurants (Lotus Pond, Maja Raja and Little Thai Bistro) just because the buildings are prettier in one block does not mean the rest should be left out. Enough compartmentalisation. What will the 600 block be Noqulojo (not quite lower johnson).

The shopping distric should be from Douglas to Wharf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#65 Holden West

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:58 AM

500 block Johnson is just jealous of the 600 block's "Nerd District" designation.

I've got a slogan for the 500 block:

"Less Yoda, More Yoga"
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#66 Galvanized

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:05 AM

Why not combine the 500 and 600 blocks and call it;

"Beauty and the Geek"
Past President of Victoria's Flâneur Union Local 1862

#67 G-Man

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:11 AM

HAHA!!! Those are both awesome!

Google image strikes agin!


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#68 m0nkyman

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 10:32 AM

Why not combine the 500 and 600 blocks and call it;

"Beauty and the Geek"


Bloody mahvellous.

Rock and Republic Jeans shoppers and Sandman comic shopppers looking down their noses at each other across government St.

#69 aastra

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:50 AM

“It’s Olde Towne to me,


Olde Towne. Gag.

#70 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:10 PM

“It’s Olde Towne to me,


Olde Towne. Gag.


He may well have said "old town" to the reporter.
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#71 aastra

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:14 PM

I know, but somebody saw fit somewhere along the way to butcher it into that abomination.

#72 G-Man

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:32 PM

Good point I just ignored but thanks for bringing that horrid word to my attention.

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#73 Mike K.

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:16 AM

Comment from the Feb 26 TC:

Sharing a fresh identity
It’s good to celebrate downtown success stories, like the latest steps forward from the merchants of Lower Johnson Street.

The changes on Johnson over the past decade, driven largely by a wave of mostly young new retail business operators, have been a model for the downtown.

Zydeco, Baggins and Still Life pioneered, offering hip, often unique goods that made them destinations for people in their target markets.

They hung in through some tough times. And gradually others seeking the same market — the tiny Smoking Lily storefront, record stores, retailers with an environmental theme — decided Johnson Street was the place to be.

A virtuous circle, they call it in business. More hip stores meant more shoppers keen on their offerings. More shoppers meant more stores, restaurants and other businesses aimed at those people. Those attracted still more shoppers. And so on.

It’s not a formula that governments can mandate.

The initial attraction of Johnson Street was that the historical buildings were great looking, thanks to a restoration effort, but rents were still cheap, in part because adjacent Market Square never really worked as a destination.

The growth has been driven by the market and keen entrepreneurs.

But governments can encourage these kinds of developments, supporting promotional efforts and working with businesses on signs and other signals to visitors that they are somewhere special.

Victoria’s Antique Row on Fort Street, with its attractive street signs and marketing aimed at tourists, shows how government and business can work together. Grouping antique stores in one area makes it a destination; Tourism Victoria helps with promotion; and the city provides distinctive street signs. Everyone benefits.

The 37 businesses on Lower Johnson — from Wharf to Government — are looking at a way of building a shared identity, like Antique Row. They’re interested in street signs and banners to help define the district and promotional material to make sure tourists know about it. They’re inviting customers to help choose a name.

It’s still important for the entire community to work together, but there’s great strength in these kinds of targeted alliances.

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#74 Caramia

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:29 PM

I've been attending those meetings, it is actually really fun watching the level of energy and excitement among the small business owners. By the way I did take the opportunity to mention Vibrant Victoria to them, and also to tell them about your name for the Geek Block :P

The 500 block has some advantages towards mobilising the community. Supportive property owners (not that we dont support our tenants on 600 block too :P ) a tight knit retail community, and mostly, those few really motivated energetic types who as always carry the ball for anything worth doing hehe. When the idea of doing a ballot to win a $1000 shopping spree came up the stores were so quick to put in, it was quite amazing. It seems like whenever someone suggests some collaborative action, everyone is immediately onside.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
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#75 G-Man

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:42 PM

Caramia I am saying this in a nice inquisitive voice just so you know:)

I think it is great that you are promoting the street but I really think that you guys are making a big mistake not including the 600 Block. First of all it doubles the size. It gives you a bigger base to get funding from and the greater diversity will in the end attract more shoppers.

My question is: Why exclude them?

Plus when that wants block to advertise does it then have to form its own group and name itself upper lower johnson and compete with you?

I am just confused as an outsider because in my eyes the shopping district starts at Douglas...

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#76 m0nkyman

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 09:52 PM

I'm still giggling at the conceit that government had jack to do with Fort St...

Oh that's rich. :smt044

#77 Holden West

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:10 PM

It's not the "Geek Block", it's the "Nerd District". Jeez Louise!

The new Edzo convenience store on Fort has already closed. I estimate there's nearly a 40% vacancy rate on the 800 block Fort.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#78 G-Man

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 07:29 AM

That would all change if the empty lots on the 900 block were filled with high density living.

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#79 m0nkyman

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 11:00 AM

But then we wouldn't be the only residents on the block.... ;)

#80 G-Man

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 11:03 AM

That is true. You should start a residents association. You would dominate the meetings. Of course taking minutes while presenting and discussing with yourself could be quite difficult.

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