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Red Brick closure a 'personal decision'
Michael Richardson says he's still bullish on New Westminster's Downtown, even though he's closing his three-year-old furniture boutique Red Brick Home.
A photo posted on the social media website Twitter over the weekend of his store's sidewalk sandwich board announcing a "Store Closing Sale" elicited responses from shock, sadness and resignation that once again the city's historical core couldn't support any kind of business other than wedding shops.
But Richardson says that's not the case. With the lease expiring later in the fall on the space he occupies at Carnarvon and Sixth Street, he decided it's time to pursue other opportunities.
"Everybody wants to make it a reflection of a failure of New West," says Richardson, who also makes the community his home. "I saw the positives when I moved down here. I saw tons of possibilities for the future."
While that future will no longer include Red Brick Home, Richardson says the Downtown's momentum is moving forward.
"It's changed dramatically," says Richardson, who's also first vice president of the Downtown BIA. "The landscape is dotted with cranes, there's new people coming in all the time. There's new fresh ideas, it's definitely evolving."
More importantly, says Richardson, businesses like his are making New West more of a destination for shoppers coming in from other communities. Most of his customer base, he says, comes from Vancouver.
"People are excited to see other types of businesses that speak to them," says Richardson. "People are coming to New West who haven't been through here in years, or have never been here."
And for the most part, they're leaving with a positive impression.
"It may not be the most thriving downtown," says Richardson. "But we're an actual city with a heart and soul."
And one where Richardson will continue to live, perhaps eventually open another business venture.
"I haven't ruled that out at some point in the future," he says.