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'General Merchant' in Westmount hosts grand opening after rezoning
EDMONTON -- New life has been breathed into a 106-year-old Westmount building that celebrated at least its second grand opening on Saturday.
The "General Merchant" at 10985 127 Street hosted a packed house for the event, also an opportunity to celebrate the successful effort by its owner to have the property rezoned.
"It’s just so nice to see people enjoying the shop and watching the smiles on their faces," said Alex Archbold of Curiosity Inc.
The antiques dealer began campaigning to have the property rezoned in August. At the time, it had been designated for apartment building use, and Archbold had plans to open it as a store. The request was approved in September.
"It took about five months or so for that to take place. In that time we were renovating," he explained.
Archbold said while the main part of the building was structurally sound, a back portion that at one point was used as a residence needed more extensive work.
And that's only the beginning.
"The front of the store, as cute as it looks now, will hopefully look more historically accurate with a wooden frontage that we’re going to plan on doing in the next year or two."
Shopper Denis Preece said Curiousity Inc. has done "an extremely good job" at creating an authentic general store experience.
Another customer, Tracey Demuynck, called the idea of recreating a general store brilliant.
"You could go visit all of these things in a warehouse somewhere but it’s not the same as coming to an old-fashioned general store," Demuynck said.
"Also you know that we’re not bulldozing every old building in the city," Demuynck added. "It’s important to preserve this history."
Archbold has also applied to have the building recognized as a historical site.
"With luck and good will this building will be here for many years to come for people to enjoy," he
"You won’t have to just read about the history, you can see the history of Edmonton in its boomtown right here in front of you."
With a report from CTV Edmonton's Amanda Anderson