Leon’s in Kentville shut its doors April 28 for a very good reason.
The furniture store’s 22 employees were invited to help mark the official groundbreaking of its new location in the Coldbrook Village Park. The building, expected to be finished in September, will consolidate the business’ Kentville showroom and New Minas warehouse.
Owners John Coady and Colin Lewis were all smiles as they welcomed guests and thanked their staff for enthusiastically helping the locally-owned and -operated store to grow and thrive.
When Coady and Lewis purchased the franchise location in the summer of 2007, Lewis says it was in need of revitalization.
“We had the opportunity to take over a store and reinvigorate it and provide the service people want in the Valley.
“In our first full year in business, we had a 32 per cent increase in sales,” he reports, with continued improvements year over year.
However, the Main Street store is small, Lewis adds, “and the retail environment in Kentville has changed over the past 20 years, it is a very professional oriented town.“
Mayor David Corkum expressed disappointment a 20-year business will move out of town by fall.
“However, this will open up a great opportunity for another business to relocate in an excellent downtown location with lots of good parking.”
Lewis said the existing leased showroom has 80 parking spaces and is quite a bit larger than it appears.
Relocating within view of Highway 101, just off Exit 14, makes sense, he says.
“It will be a lot easier for people to get to.”
Offering 20 per cent more showroom space for furniture will help customers in their efforts to shop locally, he adds.
“We want to be able to offer customers an alternative and let them shop locally and not have to move into Halifax.
“We will have a much bigger warehouse, floor more merchandise, have more merchandise in stock.”
Local shopping may mean more local jobs, too, Lewis said. In addition to construction jobs via contractor B.D. Stevens, “we anticipate a 10 to 20 per cent growth in employment.
“We’re really excited and thank people for giving us the opportunity,” Lewis said. “It’s a good news story for the Valley.”
Kings County Warden Diana Brothers and Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison were on hand to turn the ceremonial sod - in this case, ceremonial sand.