While affordability, natural beauty and outdoor recreation (boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding and more) are some of the draws for people seeking quality of life to this city of 14,000, so are business opportunities. Economic development in Castlegar is taking off.

Forestry, hydro power generation, mining, transportation, education, tourism and education are the region’s key economic development drivers, but Castlegar’s business community is primed for diversity and growth.

The past year or so has seen a dramatic shift in Castlegar’s retail landscape, for example, with more than a dozen new businesses taking root in the city centre.

“Economic development is in full tilt,” Tammy Verigin-Burk says. (The executive director for the Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce) “We worked with members and residents and had all these people generate ideas of what’s needed, what would drive people to go downtown, and how we can make it more vibrant. From September 2016 to June of this year, we had 17 of 26 empty storefronts and commercial lots filled. Since then, it’s only been growing and we only have a couple of spaces left.

“Some say retail is dead, but if you live in a small town retail is never dead,” she adds. “With mixed businesses together and the right businesses that make sense to your town, those businesses thrive.”

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