Editorial: Do we need another pizza place or liquor store in Morinville?

SimCity is a fun game that’s been around for a long time. You get to be the mayor of a community that consists of a road and a couple of houses.

As your community hits population markers, you are permitted to build a variety of businesses – usually, a hardware store to start, working up to theatres and casinos and other places for your Sims to spend money.

The real world is not SimCity.

In the real world commercial land is zoned for a variety of business types and uses. So for example, if a zone has among its permitted uses pizza joints – you could conceivably have several of them in a row. Same applies to liquor stores, nail shops, hair salons or gas stations.

The decision on what types of businesses open rest solely with entrepreneurs willing to take the often huge financial risks to go into business.

Entrepreneurs open the types of businesses they believe will give them a return on investment. They open shops where they think they can offer a better price, better product, or better service.

They are not swayed by naysayers commenting, “We don’t need another pizza place, nail salon, gas station, etc.”

It would be wonderful to wake up with every big store and national franchise we all have on our wishlists, but the reality is that entrepreneurs are not going to invest their money on a sock store on the basis and hope that the occasional customer will trickle in to buy one pair of black socks for a wedding.

That won’t cover the expenses, and the expenses of running a business are large.

Businesses need customers

Businesses need constant and steady traffic of people willing to exchange their cash for products and services.

Without it shopkeepers sit twiddling their thumbs on a Saturday afternoon, while we’re all shopping in St. Albert or Edmonton

And let’s not even mention the fact that UPS, Purolator and Canada Post trucks regularly flow in and out of town with the stuff we buy on Amazon – further reducing potential customers for local businesses.

Without sales – businesses go bust.

Variety isn’t cheap

So why so many pizza shops, liquor stores, nail salons and gas stations?

Everyone has fingernails – a good chunk of the population have them manicured. Most of us have cars and trucks, and they need regular feeding. So do our families, many of whom apparently like pizza. The number of liquor stores tells us our alcohol consumption is sufficient to keep the liquor flowing and the businesses going.

There is enough business in a community – many communities – for multiple versions of these businesses to survive.

A pizza shop here can draw from 4,000 households, more if you add in the surrounding area.

A clothing shop gets only those attracted to the gender, age group or style to whom the store caters. Likewise, a bookstore, toy store, hobby store, or any other speciality store.

But variety would be nice, and MorinvilleNews.com would also welcome more businesses in town.

Here are a few suggestions for would be entrepreneurs looking to bring value and variety to Morinville and area.

Press’d the Sandwich Company will set you back an investment of $300,000 to $400,000.

Edo Japan is an investment of $300,000 to $500,000.

Boston Pizza will cost you $1 million to $3 million, and you need capital of $550,000 to $850,000.

If you wanted more conventional retail, an M&M Food Market would set you back $300,000 to $500,000 to start up.

Any takers?

If anyone is interested in opening one of the above businesses, please contact us, and we’d be happy to do a story on your business start-up.

Until then, please shop local when you can and support the businesses that have taken the risk.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




  1. Wondering if there would be enough business for a clothing store. We have plenty of pizza, liquor, gas, coffee, hair and nails. We need something that is not currently offered in town. Spice it up a little.

  2. I run a small business in town. The nature of my business is such that most of my customers return on a weekly basis. We’ve been in business for just over two years. It’s doing better than the statistical average for a typical small business and fantastic by my opinion, and by the end of this year I might even pay my business partner (spouse) a wage. Some day soon we might both get a wage.

    Unless you have a customer base that can support your business model then your business will struggle. So how many potential customers are available, how often do they purchase, and how much is the average sale. The more often they purchase or the more they purchase the fewer you can get by on.

    Oh yeah, you also have to compete with the selection and price points of the big box stores 20 minutes down the road, those stores that have several hundred or more transactions a day…. not 10 or 20.

    It’s a lot tougher, and as the article mentions, riskier than most folks think.

    Instant gratification is the only thing most local shops can compete in.

    Smokes (or in my case smoking alternatives).

    How often do you buy socks and how much are you willing to pay to support a local family without going to Walmart or Costco?

Comments are closed.