Dave Algra of Algra Bros. Developments walks by the arched entrance to District 1881 development on Woolly Dog Alley in downtown Chilliwack on Oct. 5, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Dave Algra of Algra Bros. Developments walks by the arched entrance to District 1881 development on Woolly Dog Alley in downtown Chilliwack on Oct. 5, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)

TOP STORIES 2020: Changes to the Chilliwack shopping landscape

From District 1881 at Five Corners to Cottonwood Centre, local options are on the rise

For years, locals have watched the population of Chilliwack grow and grow, and called for more shopping and dining options.

In 2020, those calls were answered, in a small way.

No, there is still no Costco to spare Chilliwackians the drive to and from Abbotsford. But the city is getting another major grocery store in early 2021, with a massive new Save-on-Foods set to open at Cottonwood Centre.

Construction on Chilliwack’s fourth Save-on-Foods location carried on throughout the year in the area of the mall that used to house Target, and before it Zellers.

Around the back of Save-on-Foods, another major retailer is set to open soon.

RELATED: Chilliwack IGA is shutting its doors for good

Old Navy has 1,106 locations, according to its Wikipedia page, and the American-owned clothing retailer announced in March that Chilliwack is going to join that list.

“Omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg. Doing happy dance!!!” wrote one enthusiastic commenter on the Cottonwood Centre Facebook page when the mall’s new tennant was revealed.

The other focus of retail expansion was downtown Chilliwack and the new Five Corners development.

The 3.75-acre redevelopment site includes a combination of retail, commercial, residential and mixed-used development, in a multi-year, multi-phased development.

After months of construction, eight new businesses opened their doors in the part of the project that is dubbed ‘District 1881.’

RELATED: Old Navy moving into Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Centre

Among the newcomers are The Local Place and Spruce Collective, two stores that offers an eclectic mix of products, everything from home goods to bath and body items to puzzles and games.

On the dining side, District 1881 introduced not one but two craft breweries, Bricklayer and Field House, along with the Bow and Stern restaurant, which specializes in fish, chips, oysters and ale.

“All of our businesses are independent business owners,” said Dave Algra of Algra Bros. Development in an October article in The Chilliwack Progress. “They are all local people from the Fraser Valley, whereas typically in new developments it’s always chains or franchises.

“All of the tenants have their own design ideas and styles. From the outside everything works together with a similar look and feel. But when you go inside these spaces you’ll see how different and unique they all are.”

If you’re a fan of Indian food, 2020 brought two promising developments.

The hugely popular Shandhar Hut announced a second location in Sardis, and construction is proceeding rapidly at the corner of Promontory Road and Chilliwack River Road. And a new player entered the scene with Garam Masala opening on Nowell Street in the downtown core.

“While 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, our community has also seen exciting developments in the retail sector,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove. “Seeing the development at Five Corners come to life and watching the work at Cottonwood Centre, I am filled with optimism for 2021. In the new year, we can look forward to more work on these developments and more opportunities to shop local.”

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