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Report shows more retail businesses could be supported in Bonnvyille

The primary retail sectors identified in the report for growth over the next 10 years are the comparison sector (which includes household goods, fashion, and general merchandise stores), the convenience sector (groceries and food), and the food and beverage sector (restaurants and fast food).  
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BONNYVILLE - The Town of Bonnyville has received a completed commercial gap analysis, illustrating that the Lakeland municipality has the ability to support an additional 195,000 square feet of retail space, which could potentially be increased by a further 50 per cent over the next decade. 

Fowler Bauld & Mitchell Ltd. (FMB) was commissioned by the municipality to conduct the commercial gap analysis. According to information released by the Town of Bonnyville, this study began in September 2023 and was completed in March 2024, with the objective being to “thoroughly document the current business inventories and define the realistic trade areas for which they serve.”  

The purpose of collecting research from the study was to recognize present gaps, as well as find opportunities for retail and commercial markets. In turn, this would assist the Town of Bonnyville to pinpoint investment and business attraction to support the municipality’s economic development strategic plan.  

The primary retail sectors identified in the report for growth over the next 10 years are the comparison sector (which includes household goods, fashion, and general merchandise stores), the convenience sector (groceries and food), and the food and beverage sector (restaurants and fast food).  

This outlook of potential growth is supported by the region’s primary trade area of 27,239 people and a second trade area comprised of 22,291 people.  

Mark Laver, economic development officer for the Town of Bonnyville, said information from the analysis will be used to market the Town as a place to invest and to grow. He said the report will be sent to entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, brokers, and business owners.  

“We thought the Town was under-retailed but needed to have hard facts to confirm or refute our belief,” Laver told Lakeland This Week. “The report provides us with the information to open doors and start discussions with businesses – that’s difficult to do when all you have is a hunch.” 

Laver continued by saying that businesses often have target demographics, adding that municipal officials already know what a lot of these are and will be willing to adjust their sales prospecting accordingly. 

According to Laver, residents played a big part in the creation of the report. Residents helped by letting officials know about their shopping habits, spending patterns along with the types of stores they would like to see in town.  

“We had over 550 respondents to our survey… a big thank you from the Town to those that helped,” said Laver. 

Mayor of the Town of Bonnyville Elisa Brosseau, said municipal officials have long believed that the town was under-served from a retail perspective.  

“This report will allow us to target new retailers to locate in the Town,” Brosseau said. “The Town already has the lowest non-residential taxes in the region and incentives for new and renovated commercial buildings.”  

The entire Retail Gap Analysis can be found online through the Town of Bonnyville’s website, along with information on the Town’s Commercial Tax Incentive program. 


Chris McGarry

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