Mini business boom in Glace Bay, N.S. puts "a little bit of sparkle and shine on the town"
It’s been a while since the corner of Commercial and Main Street in Glace Bay, N.S. heard the sounds of live music.
The hustle and bustle in the heart of downtown Glace Bay is something that’s given new life to the former coal mining town.
The community is experiencing a bit of a mini business boom, an economic turn-around the town hasn't seen in a number of years.
Several businesses are either under construction or newly opened - all of it during a pandemic.
Tamlyn Campbell and Julia MacMillan moved from Ottawa to start their new venture, which includes a beer garden with all local craft suds, and a soon-to-be indoor restaurant opening in December.
"My roots are in this town. My mother is from here, my grandfather is from here and when I was given an opportunity to give back in such a way and create something that will put a little bit of sparkle and shine on the town, I felt like it was a good thing to do," says Campbell.
"I really think it's the perfect transition. People don't need to go inside anywhere yet, they can still feel safe outside and have a good time," says MacMillan.
It's not the only new business in Glace Bay.
Just down the road new restaurant Talo on Ice is set to deliver inside the newly renovated Miners Forum.
Construction of a new A&W is underway, and not far from there, space is being cleared for a new gas station and convenience store.
Robin's Donuts has also just opened its doors downtown.
"Just talking to some of new younger people that are new entrepreneurs in town, they want to try something new, create jobs with new businesses," says Coun. Ken Tracey.
"Young people have energy and they're not afraid to take risks, so that's pretty exciting."
Fueled by coal mining, Glace Bay was once the largest town in Canada by population.
But those days are long gone, doctors are hard to come by, the local hospital’s ER department is closed a large percentage of the time and the area has been in an economic depression ever since the mines closed.
"For the most part, it's been a struggle for a lot of businesses, and to see some new businesses and old businesses shining light on the community, it's a delight to see," says Tracey.
"We're excited to be part of it. We were always under the philosophy that one food truck in a parking lot does ok, but five food trucks in a parking lot do great and we want to see that success from other people. We'd be happy to see other bars are restaurants open up on the strip," says Campbell
And while there’s no one reason behind why business is booming, Tracey says it means more tax revenue for a cash-strapped municipality.
The housing market in Glace Bay has also been hot. Tracey says a lot of people are able to work from home now, so a lot of people living away are returning home.
All of it leading to a busy and active summer.