After 25 years, Butterfly Threads boutique is emerging from Jacquie Clarke's basement cocoon.
Next week, the long time home-based business will open its doors as a downtown tenant, knocking another item off of Clarke's bucket list.
Although hesitant for many years to move the women's clothing store out of her home, Clarke said her customer base - which shops by appointment - has grown so large that she has to turn people away despite putting in 12-hour days.
"I've decided to go downtown so that people can come anytime, but I'm still going to offer that personal service to people that want it," she said, explaining she will be bringing on a manager - Laura Hansen, who Clarke said will keep her "on earth" - and a second co-worker to get through the days.
The storefront, at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Dominion Street (421 Dominion St.), is currently undergoing renovations and will open Oct. 23 with what Clarke is calling an inventory-reduction sale. The grand opening will take place Nov. 22.
If Butterfly Threads was going to move out of her home, Clarke said she knew it had to be in a downtown location.
"I definitely want to see downtown be successful. I just feel like we're just dying down there," she said, adding she wants to bring her customer base to the area, where she sees positive things being added. " I would never think to go out Hart Highway or College Heights, I just wouldn't. I want to see the downtown succeed."
Downtown Business Improvement Area president Rod Holmes said the tenancy in the downtown core is in a constant state of flux, which is natural for business.
"There are some business that may be evolving and moving out as well, but there's constantly somebody moving in," he said. This includes businesses which have moved out of the core and decided to return. "Which is a good thing. It shows they have faith that downtown Prince George is a good place to do business."
In the summer, the city's planning department released a study on commercial and residential vacancy rates for 2011, which didn't show much variance from 2010 numbers.
According to the report, there was a slight decrease of 1.5 per cent in total retail and service vacancy and a slight increase of 0.5 per cent in total office space vacancy.
There was also a shift to more office use for downtown space.
Holmes pointed to the new home of B.C. Housing as an example. The government agency is moving into the Second Avenue space that was previously occupied by the Cadillac Ranch, the Rock Pit and, originally, Bib And Tucker family restaurant.
"They've found good space they like, they want to be here, they've got lots of amenities," Holmes said of the new tenant. "It's good for them."