The great summer weather certainly hasn't slowed the pace of business here in the central part of the province.
For the past few months, Colchester Regional Development Association (CoRDA) has been involved with helping United Parcel Service (UPS) find a suitable, new facility in Truro's downtown core. It will be their regional depot, and by now, most of you who are job searching will have seen their help wanted ads in the Truro Daily News. I saw the job ads a few weeks ago, and I understand UPS is impressed with the local talent pool.
Elsewhere, CoRDA has helped North Sydney-based entrepreneur Stewart Sommers re-locate his company, known as WebDocs, from Cape Breton to Truro.
As I was showing him properties around town, Stewart told me he wanted to be more central to his clients. When a company is looking for a central location, the Truro-Colchester region is certainly the place to be.
Halifax and Moncton are Atlantic Canada's two largest and fastest-growing cities, and with Truro located right in the centre, people like Stewart Sommers take notice of our advantages.
WebDocs has about 12 people on the payroll. Stewart says that number includes two people in the Truro office and about 10 more people in home-based technical roles.
While being headquartered here in Truro, the three-year-old company will also maintain sales offices in Cape Breton, St. John's and Ottawa.
CoRDA is also helping a pair of New Brunswick-based firms as they search for new homes. One of them is interested in Truro, and the second firm has shown great interest in Debert. It wouldn't be proper to list their company names at this point, but when they do set up shop here, you'll read about it here first.
In the Truro Business Park, we are completing a sale to a Newfoundland-based company. Its intention is to build a new distribution centre that will house eight to 10 new jobs.
In addition, recent expansions at Pearl & Daisy Natural Soap Company in Debert, and Ocean Sonics in Great Village are keeping central Nova Scotia on the business map.
These firms are hiring new marketing and technical people, and have been nominated for provincial business awards. As forward thinkers, they deserve the success they are achieving with new products and increased exports.
On the retail end of things, the Margolians' block is humming right along.
It's nice to see downtown Truro getting the attention and critical mass of shoppers it deserves with so many new stores and boutiques locating in the former department store.
There's also a new tenant leasing some storage space in the Walker's hardware building, and I'm told by a reliable real estate source that we can look forward to at least one new retail outlet in the Walker's building in the near future.
As for the former employees at Walker's hardware, it's comforting to see many of their smiling faces at the new Home Hardware located next to the Community Credit Union on Willow Street. Some might call their collective move to Home Hardware's new digs a case of ‘talent transfer.'
In Bible Hill, the new expansion at Bible Hill Centre is now into its occupancy stage. The brand spanking new MacQuarries Pharmasave looks fabulous and, as usual, the company has chosen a superb location from which to serve the fast-growing neighbourhoods around Bible Hill and Valley.
In addition, that plaza is about to host a sizeable expansion of the Great Canadian Dollar store, which will make the chain's Bible Hill Centre store the largest one in Nova Scotia.
CoRDA's next challenge is to help find a replacement store or stores for the Robie Street Zellers location when parent company HBC vacates that space next year.
In working with the operators of Truro Mall, we're confident we'll come up with the right retailer to blend in with the large and small retailers, eateries and services that are already there. After all, Robie Street does have one of the highest traffic counts in the province. And what new retailer wouldn't want to take advantage of that?
It's also pretty difficult to ignore the fact that Truro-Colchester has the fastest growing rural population in Nova Scotia.
In general trending news for the local economy, the Wood Street Centre's expansion will soon be the site of more than 30 new public sector jobs. CoRDA is welcoming these well-paid professionals, who are bringing even more spending power to the local economy.
Here's to making sure the growth in Truro-Colchester continues.
TAGLINE: Alan Johnson is director of marketing and communications for the Colchester Regional Development Association. His column appears in this space each month. He can be reached using firstname.lastname@example.org.