TRURO, N.S. – It’s not about building a monopoly. It’s not about chasing the almighty buck.
For Derek Forsyth, opening up another food and beverage establishment when he already has several is all about creating jobs and helping to build and contribute to a thriving downtown economy, he said.
“I’ve been here 15 years and it’s changed more in the past three years than it did in the first 12 years that I was here,” said Forsyth, who has opened the Hubtown Sports Bar in the former Bubba Ray’s location on West Prince Street.
“We’ve got a bunch of like-minded entrepreneurs that are really powering change,” he said. “I think Truro’s got the most vibrant town, by far in Nova Scotia, and maybe even in the Maritimes.”
Forsythe and his wife Jenna are co-owners in the Truro Group of Companies, which includes the Nook and Cranny Brew Pub, the Salty Dog Brewing Company, the Sauced Wood-Fired Pizza company and now the Hubtown Sports Bar. He also owns the Belly Up BBQ & Grill on Robie Street along with a silent partner.
When he heard Bubba Ray’s Sports Bar was going to be shutting down, Forsyth decided that would be good place to continue with his business investments.
“When I first moved here, you could drive down Prince (Street) on Friday night at 9 o’clock and you could shoot a gun through the place. And now, people are out and about,” he said. “We are creating habits for people to stay within Truro.”
In addition to the cultural variety of other new restaurants and businesses that have cropped up within Truro’s downtown core in recent years, Forsyth also offered praise for town officials and staff who have bought into the entrepreneur’s business plans and other creative ideas adding to the area’s vibrancy.
“Go to another town of the same size anywhere and see if they’ve got the amenities that we have,” he said, of such attractions as the town’s new Civic Square and the “world-class” Rath-Eastlink Community Centre and the Marigold Cultural Centre.“I’m not sure what other small town of 15,000 has those amenities. We’re lucky,” he said. “And so, if you put everything together, you can shop, you can go see a great concert, you can hang out at the civic square, you can go walk downtown.”
At one point, Forsyth said he contemplated turning the Nook and Cranny into a franchise and opening up similar establishments in other areas. But after watching other enterprises try and fail such attempts, he decided to concentrate all his business interests in one area.
“I think Truro is the only focus that’s good for us right now,” he said.
And as for those who think his build-up of food and beverage establishments are a form of monopoly that will enable him to increase prices, Forsyth said he envisions being able to do the opposite.
“Because now I have more of a bargaining power with all of my suppliers and we can get better deals. It’s going to actually be better for everybody,” he said.
“People ask me why I’m doing it. There’s two reasons why I’m doing it. I know what the future of Truro is going to be and it’s a perfect fit for the businesses we have right now. It only makes sense,” Forsyth said.
“For me, it’s not about plugging the businesses it’s about the change of the town and I’m excited to see what happens in the next five years.
“What’s happened in the last three, if that happens again, were all good, because it’s just been great.
“So I’m excited. It’s fun.”
– Hubtown Sports Bar has 29 television screens and is decorated with sports memorabilia.
– Wing sauces and many other ingredients, including fresh-cut French fries are all going to be made in-house.
– With the opening of the Hubtown Sports Bar, Forsyth’s overall employment numbers now stand at about 50 individuals.