As the manager of the Hart Centre, I dont believe Jennifer Brandle-McCalls editorial in The Prince George Citizen should go unanswered.
To begin with, Hart Center Mall is not outside Prince George, it is part of Prince George.
It is not a regional centre with a surplus of national tenants. The centre is commonly known as Hart Center Mall, however the mall is only a part of it.
The strip portion is more than 40 years old. The mall was added to accommodate a drug mart and a relocated liquor store. A new 38,000 sq. ft. Overwaitea (Save-On Foods) was added in 1982. In total there are 28 commercial retail units, however it is not a regional centre with a preponderance of national tenants. It is a neighbourhood or community centre primarily made up of local, destination-type stores and services.
We are owned by a family who are more concerned with the welfare of their tenants than a national developer or consortium would be. So no, thousands of dollars have not been spent on cosmetic changes to the strip and mall.
Instead, low rents have been further reduced and tenants subsidized in order to maintain and enable them to continue despite a sluggish economy.
The Saan store has been replaced by Fabricland. Yes, there are still vacancies, but we are not alone.
Hart Center is home to several successful businesses, including two financial institutions, an insurance company, a dentist, hair salons and a restaurant. We have the largest dollar store in town. We are also home to Trendsetters hair studio and day spa.
This is not just the Hart Center, it is the centre with heart.
We have an abundance of parking.
The area west of the service station was fenced off because of a dangerous build-up of water, that we discovered was caused by two underground drains being shut off when Esso closed their car wash.
While the population on the Hart has grown in recent years, so has the number of large box stores which have taken much business away from locally-owned retailers.
In conclusion, I would remind Ms. Brandle-McCall that dissing Hart Centre does no good to merchants trying to make a go of it. If she is truly concerned about the loss of Shhh, I suggest she use her influence to persuade her affluent friends in the Hart area to support the centre rather than disparage it.
Manager, Hart Center Mall