Ready to pad bottom line

Gap in downtown Castlegar street-scape to be filled

Proprietor Derek Kittson

Proprietor Derek Kittson

Positive news for everyone who cares about Castlegar’s image is being made in the downtown core.

An ambitious young entrepreneur is answering the legions of local residents who have called for a shoe store for the community. Derek Kittson has renovations well-underway for the business to be known as Central City Shoes.

Kittson said on April 27 that he’d seen a need, and the desire to meet it sprouted and grew with each month the former home of Fourth Street Video had languished in a vacant state at the corner of 4th and Columbia.

Arguably the city’s top location in terms of visibility, the sizable storefront is just the sort that any town would want to be occupied and successful. Kittson intends to make that happen.

“If there’s such thing as a regional shoe store, hopefully this will be the one,” he said over the clatter of flooring being installed by “old friend and contractor” Dean Diciano. He says there’s nothing in the area, from Nelson to Trail, like what he has in mind.

“We’ll have something for everyone,” said the soon-to-be merchant – a Castlegar native who had returned following the best part of a decade in Vancouver, “…men’s, women’s childrens, jogging, flip-flops, sandals, high-heels… everything.”

Kittson says the pleas for a shoe store in town had been noticed since the the closing of a store called Eremenko’s in the ’90s. He plans to fill a void – the chasm between bargain and high-end, but strive for good quality at the same time.”Prices will be between $19 and $99. I don’t want anything over $100 unless it’s a pair of boots,” he explained.

When he saw the for-lease sign he knew he was in a position to go for it. He said the commitment was made on February 1.

Making his future success all the more plausible was an accommodation by the City of Castlegar, paving the way for the proprietor to reside in the lower level.

“My commute will be 14 stairs,” he said with a grin.

The product itself shows all kinds of potential.

“Shoes are always either wearing out, going out of style or being outgrown,” Kittson said, ” and when they find something they like, some people want five pairs in all five different colours.”There is no shortage of optimism in Derek Kittson, who is hoping for a June opening date for Central City Shoes.