With construction of a liquor store underway in front of Canadian Tire, further adding to the amenities at the Crossroads, many in the valley are wondering about downtown Invermere’s future. District of Invermere mayor Gerry Taft points to full commercial occupancy of Parkside Place as a sign that there is nothing to worry about, but as other stores remain empty with “For Lease” signs in the windows, not everyone is convinced.
Bad news gets talked about more than good news, and discussing the “death” of the downtown has been a popular subject ever since Home Hardware relocated to the highway and the economic recession pulled the carpet out from under many in the valley.
The good news is that, in addition to Parkside Place, a number of bustling businesses have recently opened up that have brought new life to main street including: the relocation of Bicycle Works from Parkside Place to the bigger garage space formerly occupied by Lakeside Auto and the consequent opening of new business Elemental Cycle in Bicycle Works’ former location; the opening of Circle Café at Frater Landing; the introduction of the innovative Do Nothing Floatation Centre and Get Fresh! juice bar next door to the former Book Bar; the relocation of the Painted Aspen Studio Gallery up the street into the bigger space evacuated by All Things Beautiful this past summer after being open less than a year; the Dollar Store sparking back up since construction on the beautified Cenotaph Park ceased; and most recently, the Defining Yoga Studio will soon be located in the space that used to house the Gone Hollywood video store, complete with a new name and business model.
While convenient and visible, the Crossroads doesn’t offer the cozy, picturesque pedestrian-friendly village environment that defines Invermere on the Lake as the cosmopolitan hub of the valley, which ultimately has the potential to draw more tourism to the region that will benefit the businesses in both locations.