Whistler is abuzz with the news that the resort will finally be home to Canada's most iconic brand, Tim Hortons.
The longstanding rumours were confirmed Sunday, Oct. 12, with Sitings Reality revealing that the international coffee chain will be installing a small location in Creekside as early as January.
"The depth of the product will be the same as any Tim Hortons, but there will be no drive-thru and not as many seats as a regular Tim Hortons," said realtor Dan Clark, with Sitings Reality.
The location will be approximately 968 square feet in size, housing 10 seats and a full kitchen at a new commercial development being built on the corner of London Lane and Highway 99. It will also include a large patio area with ample outdoor seating and a fire pit.
Municipal legislation currently limits the number of drive-thrus permitted in the resort to one, servicing the Marketplace McDonald's in the village. The bylaw is widely considered to be one of the hurdles that kept Tim Hortons out of the resort in the past.
Social media was flooded with local reactions to the news — both good and bad — in the wake of Sunday's announcement. Many are welcoming the iconic brand's long-awaited foray into the resort, while others are questioning the need for yet another fast food chain in an already crowded market.
"Certainly people have been asking us for years if there's a Tim Hortons here, and as long as people can get in and out of there, I'm sure it will be quite popular and well received," said Whistler Real Estate Company owner Pat Kelly. "Anything that creates more activity down in Creekside is a bonus and only adds to the experience."
Moselle Dibdin of Local Whistler, a grassroots campaign that encourages the community to support locally-owned businesses, said adding another foreign-owned chain to the marketplace will only lead to dollars being sent out of the resort.
"The reality is when you shop at a non-local business the profits leave the community, whereas when you choose to shop locally the money is re-circulated in the economy up to four times more," she said.
"The new Tim Hortons will also increase traffic," she said. "Obviously with the one gas station in Creekside there's already often a traffic backlog on the weekends when it's busy."
Wayne Katz, owner and operator of local independent coffee shops Moguls, Lift Coffee Company and Gone Bakery, said the local food and beverage industry is always affected by a new player on the scene, and believes Whistler is "being inundated with food and beverage operators."
"All you're doing is cutting another sliver off the pie because (customers) are going to go somewhere and this just gives them another option," he said.
Tim Horton's is the first tenant confirmed for the 3,750-square-foot London Lanes Holding development. There will be an additional two or three retail units included in the space, with the tenants to be confirmed in the coming month. A surface parking lot with 16 stalls and direct turn access will also be included.
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