WRITTEN BY SHAWNA O’NEILL
Born and raised in the village of Winchester, Ontario, MP Eric Duncan currently resides in Cornwall, and thinks very highly of our downtown BIA (DBIA).
“It’s a hidden gem!” said Duncan. “When I bring friends and family here, go out for supper, do some shopping on a Saturday afternoon, people are amazed at what we’ve got here in terms of small, local, independent businesses…it has come a long way.”
If Duncan isn’t out shopping, possibly purchasing Happy Popcorn Co. treats with his sister and nephew, he’s most likely enjoying one of his go-to meals: a Smashed Chicken Wrap or a specialty pizza, with a caesar, of course, from ESCA Gourmet Pizza + Bar.
“I have to say, I’m a big ESCA fan,” said Duncan. “That’s always one of the first places I take newbies to Cornwall. I love the ESCA experience; they have a great atmosphere there. There’s no shortage (of good restaurants), I sort of rotate through where we can go as well.”
“If it’s a Saturday morning, for breakfast or a coffee, I will go to Tilly’s (Eatery),” he added. “I will meet people there for that; they have a great spot.”
Duncan explained that he used to be more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, just like his father. Now, he can’t think of one ethnicity of food he doesn’t enjoy. He praised our DBIA, and the entire region, for its ever-growing diversity of food options.
“You could come to downtown Cornwall and try a different restaurant every time, and you would be doing that for weeks and months on end, trying something new,” he boasted.
Looking to the near future, Duncan can’t wait to continue playing the role of local tour guide amongst his friends and family members. When it is safe, he will be visiting our local stores and relaxing somewhere on a patio.
“This summer, people are going to be doing staycations,” he said. “We are doing a lot of work to promote staying in the area, not travelling too far, and you don’t need to travel too far, because there’s a lot of things in your own backyard that need your support.”
With eye-catching brick and mortar storefronts, and informative online marketing, Duncan believes that the business owners within the DBIA have found a perfect balance. He thinks the shortage of vacancy is also a testament to the popularity of the little hub.
“One thing I’m always impressed with is the physical presentation of the downtown area, but also their social media presence: I think that’s the new way of doing things as well,” explained Duncan. “They all have a very good social media presence: they’re active, they support each other and there’s a good kind of family business network involved in that. Not only do they have the physical aspect of the business and are hitting that (out of the park), they also know how to advertise, how to leverage social media, get out what’s happening, and support each other too.”