Michelle Fairbanks opened the Gold Rush Bookstore last December and says so far business has been good. (Chelsea Novak/Rossland News)

No commercial room to let in downtown Rossland

There are no "for rent" signs posted in Rossland's downtown.

There are no “for rent” signs posted in Rossland’s downtown.

The Rossland News first started keeping track of empty commercial spaces in Rossland’s downtown in September 2015, and for the first time a survey of the 1900, 2000 and 2100 blocks of Columbia Avenue and the 2000 block of Washington found not a single “for rent” or “for sale” sign.

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Since the Rossland News last took stock of Rossland’s downtown commercial spaces a year ago, several new businesses have opened, including the Gold Rush Bookstore.

Owner Michelle Fairbanks opened on Dec. 20 last year and says so far business has been good.

“It’s been great. It’s one of those little roller-coaster things though because depending what’s going on in Rossland — if there are bike festivals, things like that going on — anytime that there’s a big event going on — you tend to get the overflow where people are … wondering around downtown just to see what’s open,” she says.

In addition to selling new and used books, Gold Rush Bookstore also sells David’s Tea and work made by local artisans, and Fairbanks says she’s happy to order books for customers.

Other new businesses include Spa Caldera, which opened at Rossland Medical Aesthetics and Day Spa’s old home at 2038 Washington Street, and the Josie Hotel’s pre-opening office, which has opened in the old Bank of Toronto building, taking the place of The Office.

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Fuel Gastropub and Diner opened on Oct. 6, taking the place of Zee Crepes on the 1800 block of Columbia Avenue.

Aaron Molloy and Jennifer Hlookoff’s restaurant serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Molloy and Hlookoff smoke their own meats and make a lot of things in-house.

“It’s kind of like eclectic comfort food with some also really healthy options,” says Molloy. “It ranges from chicken and waffles to barley bowls.”

There are also a number of businesses forthcoming.

After closing due to a fire in May, Clancey’s will be “opening soon” at the long empty spot at 2024 Columbia Avenue.

The cafĂ©’s former neighbour, RossVegas, has already relocated to 2076 Columbia Avenue — the old Rossland Youth Action Network Space.

There is also a business setting up shop in the basement of the old Bank of Montreal building, though the owners aren’t ready to make an announcement yet.

Rebecca Hooper, a local baker, is also looking to set up shop but is still looking for a location.

“Hopefully we’ll know in the next couple of weeks, but we’ll see,” she says.

Hooper bakes a lot of sourdough-based bread, as well as croissants, cookies and more.

For the month of December, Hooper will be selling baked goods out of Mountain Muse Wooden Creations (2167 Columbia Ave.) on Saturdays.

One local business will also be closing soon.

Stephanie Robinson, the owner of Red Pair Shoes, says Dec. 24 will be her businesses last day.

“I’ve always known that I didn’t want to do this for a long period of time. It was kind of this project that I wanted to prove to myself that I could run a business in a small town and be successful,” she says.

Robinson has now started her own agency and will be representing three different shoe lines and selling them to retailers across Western Canada. She wants to thank everyone who supported her business.

“This community has been amazing for supporting me. I couldn’t ask for actually a better community. I did way better than my business plan actually projected and so that was a very pleasant surprise,” says Robinson.

There are still a few empty spaces on Columbia Avenue, but no “for rent” or “for sale” signs are posted.

The old 1025 Tattoo location at 2196 Columbia Ave. is still empty, but it looks like some work has been done to improve the interior.

Clancey’s and RossVegas’s former spots at 2042 and 2044 Columbia Ave. are still vacant, as is Le Roi Mall.