ourWindsor: Is the Downtown Revitalization Project working?

Jonathon LiedtkeOurWindsor.Ca – August 13, 2013

In an economic climate like the type which we are currently faced with, any business celebrating an anniversary – whether fifty years or one year – is cause for celebration.

This past Sunday, Vermouth on Ouellette celebrated their second anniversary under new ownership, and ourWindsor.ca took some time to speak with the owner about the accomplishment.

“It is funny so many people have been saying that to me lately, [that] ‘two years is a long time in Windsor – good for you,’ [and] I guess it is amazing,” commented Elinor Price, the co-owner of the establishment. “Since we opened, sadly so many places closed downtown [and] there were places that opened after us and already closed. It makes me sad but I am very thankful for our success!”

Price expressed gratitude to Vermouth’s “loyal” customers and friends for supporting the establishment for the past two years. “We are so happy to go to work every day and that is a big deal these days,” she said.

“Our customers love our bar,” said Price. “They are why we are still going on strong. Most of our customers are regulars [and] we are not one of those places that gets new people every day and never sees them back again. When we do get someone new, they very quickly become a regular.”

Price explained that she and her husband Matt, who is the other co-owner of the establishment, very much care about what they referred to as the “drinking culture” in the community.

“It is not just about how many people we can get in our bar a night, it is [about] who we get and what we serve them. We care about every drink we put out and we really care about the person receiving that drink,” she said.

This attention to customer service and detail is what many claim will help to continue to revitalize the downtown core.

Larry Horwitz, President of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, explained that many business establishments like Vermouth benefit from programs that the DWBIA puts in place, and he noted that the recent street closure is one of them.

“If you have a good product, and you work hard, you’ll be successful,” said Horwitz.“We’re slowly attracting more than just the late night hour crowd downtown.”

“People are returning to the core, they’re looking for a place that’s reasonable, has better transit … the suburbs have become boring,” explained Horwitz. “People gave up on downtown and I think in the last five years, we’ve worked really hard and slowly people are getting their faith back in the core.”

To keep the establishment new and exciting, Vermouth offers a live jazz band on the weekend and often features special events, such as premium scotch tastings, which Price explained were quite successful.

Not being ignorant to economic conditions, Price understands that businesses must try and improve in order to stay both relevant and successful.

“The moment you stop and think that everything is fine … that is where everything goes still and nothing gets better,” said Price. “Downtown Windsor has much more to give if done the right way. Maybe in a few years from now places will keep opening not closing.”

Price also understands that it is essential to support other businesses in the core, and as such, her and her partner make a point to support other downtown establishments as much as possible.

“We try to visit other bars and when we are hungry and thinking where to go we always try to keep it down town, always!” said Price.  “We have to keep each other going . We have to make sure no one else closes and losses their livelihood! There is no reason why it should happen when all the places offer something great!”

Sid Pandya has attended Vermouth numerous times in the past, namely for Raindance film events.

“A couple of the socializing events that were a couple months ago is how I got to there,” he said. “It’s a really small spot, it’s a nice and private location to hang out with your friends, they’ve got nice couches … so you can either lounge out or sit with a [significant other].”

“I’d say it’s [a] high class place … it’s a lounge setting to have a few drinks,” he added.

Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.

Is the Downtown Revitalization Project working?






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