Water taxis can be seen up and down the Chicago River connecting commuters, whether residents or visitors, to their destination. Will we see water taxis in Windsor soon? Plans are already in the works for a 2019 start up. Photo by Jack Rosenberg.
Heard on the Street – Windsor Water Taxi
John Sheridan, Owner/Operator of Windsor River Cruises, is planning to launch a water taxi service between LaSalle and Belle River next summer. The service would have stops in LaSalle, Sandwich, in front of Caesars Windsor, Coventry Gardens, Peche Island and Belle River. “I plan to start with one taxi and expand as business warrants it,” says Sheridan. “Many large cities on the water have water-taxi services and I don’t see why this area can’t support one as well.” Sheridan says the vessel he has in mind would accommodate 26 passengers and be powered by a pair of 90-horsepower outboard motors. “I plan to spend the next 12 months getting all my ducks in a row and be ready to go next summer,” he adds.
Rejean Gascon and Duane Chouinard are putting decades of hospitality industry experience to good use by opening up Eastwood’s Grill and Lounge at 63 Riverside Drive East in Windsor. The new spot, on the site of the former Whiskey River and Papa Cheney’s Whiskey Well, was expected to open in early June. Gascon informs Biz X the restaurant will feature North American-style cuisine — with a twist. “We’ll have beef ribs, burgers and our pizzas will feature charbroiled dough, which will give them an entirely different taste than most,” says Gascon. Over the years, Gascon previously worked at Casey’s, East Side Mario’s and Applebee’s in Windsor before moving to Calgary to oversee Applebee’s western locations. He returned to Windsor a few years ago to work at Buffalo Wild Wings at Devonshire Mall. Chouinard, who hired Gascon at Casey’s, worked at Jose’s Bar and Grill in Leamington and most recently at Smoke and Spice. “We have enough experience that I think we know what works,” says Gascon. He expects Eastwood’s will employ between 30 and 50 people depending upon business.
Discount retailer Giant Tiger will be opening a new store on October 13 in a space at Tecumseh Mall formerly occupied by Zellers. Cassandra Estrade, Community and Events Associate for the retailer, says the new store will be larger than the one at 4501 Tecumseh Road East, which will close as the new store opens. “We will have more selection in every department and we will be adding a fresh meat department to our grocery section,” says Estrade. The new store will be 19,900 sq. ft. in area and have an updated appearance. Tecumseh Mall General Manager Colleen Conlin says “we believe it’s something that is needed in the neighbourhood and Giant Tiger has a strong name in retail circles so we expect it will be a success.” The new store will face south along the frontage of the former Zellers. Conlin expects to announce another new tenant which will fill in the remaining Zellers space in the near future. Call centre HGS Canada and Sky Zone occupy the rest of the former department store. Conlin also says that a prospective tenant is close to signing a lease to occupy the former Sobeys store, And with Lowe’s Canada moving into the former RONA store, which closed in October 2013, just north of Tecumseh Road East at Lauzon Parkway, it will bring even more consumer traffic to the eastside shopping area.
Spee-Dee Auto Wash and Car Care Centre, a past Biz X magazine award winner, is for sale as the long-time owners of the family business seek to retire. “The game plan for the owners is to retire,” explains Mark Bloomfield, an agent with Royal Lepage Binder Real Estate. “I can’t disclose any names for confidentiality reasons, but the business has been around for decades and the owners feel it is time to step away.” The building, at 639 Langlois Avenue in Windsor, was rebuilt following a fire about 30 years ago, adds Bloomfield. He notes, “We’ve had some nibbles from both local and out-of-town investors who see it as an investment opportunity. The business employs between five and 10 people and is for sale for $750,000.”
A new café and bake shop will be opening in the near future in the street level of the former Amherstburg Echo building at 238 Dalhousie Street. Caffeine and Company will feature specialty coffees and baked goods in a space formerly occupied by the newspaper’s general offices. Kirsten Kurzuk, Co-owner of the Echo building with husband Mark, says the café operators “have fantastic plans and it will be a great addition to the street.” Kurzuk adds that the building is extremely sound structurally and it would have been a shame to see it torn down. After the Echo closed six years ago, there were plans to replace it with condominiums, but when that plan fell through, the Kurzuks acquired the building, which resulted in Riccardo Maltese moving his popular Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant back into the building. Maltese had moved elsewhere in the town, but jumped at the chance to return to a waterfront location. “We’re taking great pleasure in seeing the building survive because it’s beautiful and we’re very happy to see another tenant join us,” adds Kurzuk.