Downtown Kitchener!

While reading the Record this past weekend it occurred to me that we might have an issue with something in Downtown Kitchener. You don’t notice it right away, but it slowly creeps into your mind the more that you think about things. You really notice it at the corner of King and Queen. Kitchener has an abundance of second hand stores, pawn shops, and pay-day loan stores within minutes of each other. These stores have little or no value to anyone. Their main purpose is to prey on the poor. Buying items for much lower then should be received, or giving you money for more money in the future.

This usually wouldn’t warrant any further discussion, but we just had a great restaurant have to close its doors because of rent increase; and we have a brewery desperately looking for somewhere to set up shop in the downtown. If Kitchener would like to shape up their central area and maintain the momentum that they have going from the tech district, they need to start removing the dragging-down- society retail shops. There is a need for these places, but these should be destination stores. Not in the central part of the city. The reason we have pawn shops and pay day cash loans is mainly because of alcohol and drug habits. By allowing businesses to thrive on the masses, Kitchener will always be doomed to live the cycle of a failing downtown district.

By watching first-hand how much trouble TWB Coop Brewery has had trying to find a way into the downtown, it’s been disheartening. Most businesses would have given up by now. Or would have gone to another city to begin their pursuit. They have been looking for more than a year for a place to call home; to begin to make some profit and build their brand. Zoning by-laws and high rent have come into play as well. TWB’s start up campaign was a huge success. Residents of Kitchener have shown time and time again that if you have a great product, you will succeed. Still nothing, it’s not for a lack of effort on their front. They have looked at multiple places to make this happen. Nothing has panned out as of yet.

Meanwhile, Imbibe was the absolute best place to go for a beer after work. Having multiple craft beer options daily. Laid back staff, and a very chill vibe. They were just starting to get into a groove of having regular customers. I thought they were going to have something special for years to come. The lease for their spot in the Museum was up, and the rent was hiked based on what the going rate was in the area. Another one bites the dust. It’s discouraging to see people with great ideas on how to enhance the downtown have such a difficult time making the dream become a reality. And if they have a sliver of success the rent then gets increased.

I want to support local businesses. But it has to be a business that has a value. Something that gives back as much as it takes from the community. Donates their venues to local events. Stays on top of all things Kitchener. We need the city to take a stand, and look at all angles when it comes to making this city a better place to live. I am personally in a competition with Waterloo. I believe that the city of Kitchener has more character, and can be a great landing spot for people that want to set up shop here. Let’s have a look at these zoning by-laws that are in place. Are they outdated? Maybe if you own a building take a look at the type of place that is going to be moving in to the spot. Will Imbibe increase the value of your property or bring in business for you? Yes, I think it will. Make it work with them so that everybody can be successful. We are almost there. This is already a city that I am proud to live in, but I want it to be a city where I can bring anybody to the downtown area and wow them with a unique experience. Which does not include a pay day loan. It has been a great run over the past five years or so seeing the central area of the city transform into an entertainment district. Let’s keep the ball rolling, and make this a city worth talking about.

Enlightened by Twitter about Downtown Kitchener

I have been enlightened by Twitter. It’s not the way that you would think that it would happen though. I have added everything in the area of KW. Anything from restaurants, social groups, board game cafes, and theaters. Each and every day I can scroll through the Twitter feed and find out what’s happening right around the corner. The internet is a scorched earth sometimes to find correct information. Companies don’t have time to put everything that is going on up on their website constantly. Twitter is a needed tool for local businesses to access as many people as possible in a short time frame.
The other day I found out that there was a produce market that was opening up in Belmont Village for one day. I had no idea that this was even happening until it popped up in my Twitter feed. This seems to be a market that hasn’t quite been discovered by every business. The amount of times that Sara and I have gone to a restaurant because we noticed a $5.00 pint deal at a particular place is astonishing. Downtown Kitchener now advertises $5.00 hump day specials at select businesses downtown. We don’t even look at the websites any longer. There are places that we have never eaten at or didn’t even know existed until we were notified by the hashtag #KWawesome.

I wouldn’t quite say that this is an untapped market, but it’s the only way that advertising works on us. We are the new generation. If you are looking for ways to advertise as a business, and spoiling somebody’s YouTube video is not the answer. You might want to look at Twitter to drum up business. The Boathouse and Imbibe are the best examples in the area for things that seem to work. Word of mouth and social media is practically the only way that these two places have brought in customers. Imbibe unfortunately was forced to close because of rising rental costs at the Museum, but the Boathouse seems to be thriving. If you haven’t been there, check it out. It’s the only outdoor patio that has a view. There is something soothing about sitting by the water and enjoying a pint of beer.

In a city that has historically owned by the Charcoal group we need to help these smaller places. There are more and more places popping up each day in the downtown Kitchener area. Have you heard of La Guanaquita? It’s a brilliant El Salvadorian restaurant above Frankies. It has the best papusas in the city, and offer salsa lessons on certain nights. Want to try something different? Gilt is a sharing restaurant that pushes the boundaries of creative food. They have specials nearly every weekday night. Just want a burger? McCabe’s has one of the best. On Tuesday night they have a half price special for burgers. All of these places are within a 5 minute walk of each other.

When was the last time you went out to Boston Pizza and after the meal was over you said to yourself “That was delicious. That pasta dish was worth every single penny of the $18.95?”

Twitter is the catalyst to everything for me. If there is an advertisement for half price appetizers and $5.00 pints you will have my sights set on you. If you live in this area, add everything KW related to your Twitter feed. You can find things to do, places to go, and stuff to eat within minutes every single day of the week. This city is a difficult city to be bored in while living downtown. Most people think you have to live in Toronto for constant entertainment. I disagree, if we can start to get bigger live music here; which may happen in the near future with the tech district and craft beer boom. This city can thrive. It’s a very exciting time to be in this area. Hope to see everybody out and about. You can catch me enjoying the view from the patio at the Boathouse sometime between the hours of 3-6 on most weekdays.

Kraft Dinner and the reasons Gwyneth Paltrow loves it.

“Am I right, or am I right?” is the worst thing that you have to respond to after something that was offensive was said. Any response that you give is going to be terrible. I usually pretend that I didn’t hear them correctly and say a soft “what?” Then depending on the person they will either repeat the awful thing louder, or they will realize that they are an idiot.

Golf in the early morning is the most difficult time to judge whether its shorts weather or pants weather. These are the things that you have to worry about as a retired man.

Unfortunately we are going to see a crisis in the craft beer market. There are too many breweries being opened up for the amount of population that we have in Southern Ontario. The increase of sales will not continue at quite this pace forever. This could be a tough market in about 5 years.

There is a gentlemen in downtown Kitchener that has a shopping cart. He likes to put cardboard signs with things written on it all around the shopping cart. These things don’t make any sense to me. There is something written about “Dogter MacTavish and Tom Thumb.” Sara and I would like to know what any of these things mean, but it might be a conversation that can never be unheard again.

The Stanley Cup Finals begun last night. Everybody put up their hands that think Jonathan Toews is the best leader in the NHL over the past 25 years.

This past Game of Thrones episode was the epitome of a show flexing its muscles. “Oh, you think I’ve been going along a little too slowly. Take a good look brother. And let the throne run all over you.” My mouth was wide open for nearly the whole hour.

I think I told somebody recently that I missed the show Gossip Girl. Things that should not be repeated by anybody. Unless you are from the upper east side of course.

You have to be an extremely cheap person if you watch a cam version of Mad Max. You are the same person that probably watched the snowed version of The Movie Network on Friday nights at about midnight 20 years ago.

Every time that I see a snow queen type role in any Disney movie; I always think that the role would be perfect for Gwyneth Paltrow. Currently at an 87% clip of seeing her on TV I mutter “she sucks.”

Pasta with red tomato sauce is the beginners cooking recipe. There are people that even screw this up. They might even get the one that has garlic in there if they are feeling adventurous.

Mosh pits are frightening to me. Being pushed around a circle seems to have very little enjoyment. I think I am more in the getting in the middle of a circle and busting out the cookie bake-off type crew.

Once again I witnessed the bat flip from a player when his team was down 6-0 and he made it 6-2. Junior Lake of all guys flipped his bat like he was Albert Pujols. You should get one chance to throw at his crotch with a fastball in his next at bat. He has to stand directly facing the pitcher with his hands behind his head.

Watched a news story about a bus driver that was about to be fired for making a child get off of the bus after causing some problems. Another student had filmed the bus driver forcing the child off of the bus. Parents were calling for his dismissal, furious at him for being so awful. The bus driver had installed a camera at the front of the bus the day before to show the type of abuse that he takes. He took multiple shots off of the side of the head of the kids back pack. After seeing this video the school and parents backed down from their call for firing. The fact that the bus driver had to put a camera up to protect himself from prosecution is pathetic. Another instance of calling for blood before knowing both sides of the story.

There was nothing more frightening for a non-athletic person to monkey hit a ball in front of the class. The boo-birds would come out fast and furious if you missed the tennis ball more than twice in a row. Pressure would mount. The third one better be cranked to the outfield. After 5 terrible at bats you were done.

Kraft Dinner was on sale for $0.65 recently. You have many emotions when you see this price for Kraft Dinner. Fear that you will eat it every day for lunch over the next week. Sadness that you might not buy enough boxes and will have to pay regular price. And then regret after eating it in your boxers on a sunny Wednesday morning.