A new idea in Rimbey’s south downtown area has come to fruition with the opening of a new mini-mall in a building that used to house a hardware store.
Businessman and developer Rick Pankiw said the idea was a natural fit for the community and he’s already received plenty of positive feedback.
“After selling out of the insurance business and selling the bowling alley, we were looking at some new type of adventure and we saw that the building was available and had been sitting for a couple of years and thought about what we could do with it,” Pankiw recalled. “So we came up with the idea of a small mini-mall. I had approached a couple of businesspeople and they loved the idea and jumped forward and said they were interested in doing some pre-leasing and helping out with the idea, and it went from there.”
Not only has the project breathed new life into an old building, but it also provides micro entrepreneurs and operators of home-based businesses the opportunity to attract more exposure.
“That was the idea,” Pankiw said. “Not only in Rimbey, but right across Alberta, we have a ton of home-based businesses that can’t afford the mall space, so by going small like this, we can make it affordable for the home-based business and get some exposure, especially at that location.”
As an added bonus, the mini-mall, directly north of the post office, features a comfortable sitting area where people can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while reading their mail or even bring their own bagged lunches. Pankiw was quick to add however, that the sitting room wasn’t his idea.
“I can’t take any credit for that at all. That goes to Ray Anne Keessar and Jackie Stratton, who actually leased the one half of the building,” he said. “That was totally their idea that we could leave something up front for a little bit of a coffee or tea area where people can bring their bagged lunch and eat and enjoy an hour or 45 minutes away from work. Again, it was their idea and it turned out looking just wonderful the way it is now.”
Several pieces of locally created art also adorn the new mini-mall.
As for future plans, Pankiw said he was open to any ideas as to what to do with the vacant lot between the mini-mall and the post office, including something designed to be out of doors, but for the foreseeable future, he said he would concentrate on helping fund the community’s proposed new swimming pool anyway he can.
The mall is located in the old True Value Hardware building at 5810 51st Street.