sad strip news – another restaurant bites the dust

Yet another small business has closed, more proof that Rick’s “master plan” for the rejuvenation of Bells Corners is ill-considered.

RIP La Cuisine Pacific Rim in the Stafford Mall which was, up until now, about the only plaza in Bells Corners without a boarded-up business.

So sad to see a business go down with so many people’s hopes and dreams dashed. The place underwent a HUGE renovation after the West End Station passed away.

The Extreme Pita lady said that it was a shame about her neighbour, since they were “really nice people” and served “delicious food.”

Meanwhile, in other strip news, the City inspector finally showed up and the Loblaws garden centre is at last open. Canadian Tire beat them to the punch, and they lost many thousands in business.

These are, I believe, “alpine pansies” resistant to the cold.

Advertising is sprouting up along the strip (unlike Rick’s tulips). The by-law people collect from some businesses, while others get the exposure for free. Here’s one of the standard ratty temporary signs that the Bells Corners and Merivale strips are famous for – at least it’s sort of clever.

Here are more modern “temporary” signs.

I can’t figure this one out – maybe it’s a deliberate error in order to draw attention? Or they ran out of letters?

Home Soda Factory consumers – you’re targeted by this beauty.

Election-type signs are all over the place, advertising student painters, concrete repairs and massages.

Pedestrians at this intersection will soon get a “countdown” walk signal, like the ones recently installed near the defunct La Cuisine Pacific Rim at a cost to the taxpayer of $25,000 (even though it’s been proven that countdown walk signals have NO safety benefits).

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12 Responses to sad strip news – another restaurant bites the dust

  1. La had been offering Groupon/WagJag daily deals so I’m not surprised.

    Groupon and all of the Groupon clones are horrible for a business. The sales people for these companies are pretty aggressive and they just lie to business owners. Offering a Groupon-style deal is about the worst thing a restaurant can do and if they are struggling it will usually be enough to put them out of business.

    I have been tracking Groupon/WagJag offerings and restaurant closures and there is a good level of correlation.

    Using Bells Corners as an example, Steamed Rice Express was offering Groupons/WagJags frequently before they closed. There is a place near the main city hall called Grill Forty One that just did their third or fourth round of Groupon/WagJag — my prediction is they don’t make it till September without closing.

  2. margaret says:

    wonder what happened to the brew table flags ?
    whenever I saw them they were always reading backwards – didn’t matter if I was going east or west

  3. wanderer says:

    I agree that the Groupon/WagJag deals are killers for businesses – so many people pile in on the huge discounts, and small businesses go under.

    Too bad about La Cuisine – the food was excellent, and we enjoyed watching the fish in the aquarium while we waited for food to arrive. Great folk and great food. I think the BIA was the death knell for Bells Corners, and RC with the BIA tax has done more to hurt Bells Corners than just about anything else in recent history.

    What can we do to turn things around? Any suggestions? Can the community association help in any way?


    • I don’t think that it is any secret that I was strongly against the BIA originally but I have come around somewhat.

      – I still hold that the BIA-ification of every city is retarded. BIAs work in certain environments and only those areas should have them.

      — Bells Corners is not one of the places that would see much benefit from having a BIA.

      — The City originally advocated strongly and pushed with less than honest methods to get BIAs established all over the city. The plan must have been to have faux-advocacy groups, because as soon as BIAs started advocating for business interests, the City became quite unhappy about it and is trying to make it harder for them to advocate.

      — I have complete confidence in Alex Lewis’ ability and determination, but I feel like he has been saddled with a problem that has no solution. Bells Corners needs more people and the landlords to lower the rents. Neither of those are issues a BIA can really address.

    • lisad67 says:

      We are a urban meets rural setting – let’s use it.

      Suggestions: farmers’ markets on Saturdays, crafter markets once a month, street dance in the Loblaws lot, a showcase of local talent, a volunteer performance with proceeds to our community food bank, more affordable rents in the plazas – so much space sitting empty is idiotic.

      The BIA is useless – silly flags of bridges? Winter ones still flapping away – no greenery, no flowers, no benches on strip. Nothing to make you linger. Even Second Cup is missing the boat by reducing evening hours. OMG!

      Focus on the rural connection!

      If I got paid the big bucks I’d give you even more ideas. Ha! Ha! Ha!

  4. Dave Mc says:

    These “deals” are often used to hopefully drum up new and REPEAT customers. Unfortunately, a lot of the users are just “coupon chasers” and won’t come back again without another deal.

    Like any store putting on a big sale, a business using GroupOn/Steal the deal/LivingSocial etc. takes a risk. Their profit level is lowered and the deal company takes a percentage of the sales. It’s just a quick way to get a lot of customers through the door fast.

    I have a feeling Steamed Rice Express was (I’ll wager) having low sales to begin with and would have been out of business anyway.

    I’m not really surprised about La Cuisine Pacific Rim. I found that they and West End Station had great food but were in my opinion too “high end” for a town like Bells Corners. Their menu prices reflected that. (IMHO)

    Restaurants are like a revolving door in Ottawa – if you miss your target market you’re doomed.

    – I’ve only had one experience with Groupon and it was negative. A friend had a coupon so about six of us went to a particular restaurant because of it and they refused to honour it on a technicality. No biggie but it did reinforce my negative opinion on coupons, point cards, Canadian Tire money, rebates, phoney sales, “special” deals, etc.

    Just keep it simple and give me value for my money and I’m happy.

  5. The problem is that you don’t lower your profit margin when you offer a Groupon but you actually operate at a loss if you are a standard restaurant with normal restaurant margins. A typical Groupon has you selling food for 50% but then Groupon takes half of that. So under a standard Groupon deal you give people 75% off. You also have to pay the credit card processing fees, so in reality the business owner ends up with 23% of what they would normally charge.

    A typical restaurant operates with a single digit profit margin and typically the food itself costs 35%, so, even without considering staff, a typical restaurant is losing money offering a Groupon. This is without considering that many of the coupon purchasers are going to be your regular customers, so you have basically cannibalized your own sales.

    The idea that it will serve as a way to acquire new customers is not supported by any of the studies– there have been two so far– or any of the anecdotal evidence.

    I expect Steamed Rice Express was not doing well. Desperation is often what makes people think these deals are a good idea. I think it would be a lot harder to sell the idea of offering a daily deal to a business that was not struggling. I think the daily deal offerings are both an indicator and the final nail in the coffin. The business is likely already in trouble when they start offering them.

    In related news that Asian restaurant in the Pizza Hut mall just offered a Wag Jag, so if my theory is right that isn’t good news for that mostly empty mall.

  6. wanderer says:

    How do you explain Cyrano’s if you think La Cuisine and West End Station were too ‘high end’ for dinky Bells Corners? It’s been there forever, has coupons in the regular little coupon books that come around and keeps going. I’ve frequented all three, enjoyed the food, and don’t mind paying a decent price for excellent food and good service. Likewise, Zola’s – same idea as Cyrano’s.

    I’ll talk to the owners of The Brew Table about their flags flying backwards. :>)

    • Dave Mc says:

      I don’t think I would equate Cyrano’s and Zola’s with La Cuisine. Two are basically Italian/seafood and La was Asian/Japanese international “fusion.”

      From my experience the food was good but too expensive for my budget. Trying to find a market in Bells Corners for an Asian fusion restaurant? Better chance of that in The Market.

      Actually, I’m wondering how Taste of Japan is doing. I used to go there for my fill of sushi but then these “all you can eat” Japanese places popped up and I never looked back.

      And yes, my wallet guides my decisions sometimes. *sigh*

  7. margaret says:

    went to the KoiAsia tonight and it was quite busy … maybe those coupons

  8. lisad67 says:

    I loved the sushi there. The chef was very nice, as was the staff, but I was the only customer every time I went.

    The plaza owners need to lower rents to attract business. I have heard over and over how expensive it is to rent here.

    There is not really much sense of a united community, to be frank.

    We need events that draw people, like a farmers’ market highlighting the local harvest. We are surrounded by rural areas, yet we are part of the city – use it to our advantage!

    How about street dance in a large parking lot, with proceeds going to a Bells Corners charity?

    The BIA is crap. The strip has not been beautified – we need plants and benches.

    Flags with bridges? Stupid.The winter ones are still up, last time I looked.

    The way to go is where Urban meets Rural and run with ideas that can spring off of that: a farmers’ market every Saturday, a crafters’ market (one Saturday a month), an outdoor country music performance, a local band – anything to promote interest!


  9. Doug Shannon says:

    What happened to Gows? I think a real BBQ joint, with a focus on serving Bells Corners and only BC, would fly in this space. I’m guessing the lot is worth way more than the building.

    – Here’s the story on Gow’s. The owner, a local resident, decided to retire.

    I’m guessing that he would want at least a million bucks to sell the lot and the building.

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