When Jenna Garbedian returned to Brantford downtown after living in Kitchener-Waterloo for ten years, she didn’t recognize it.
Garbedian decided to venture back to Brantford when she and her husband were seeking a location to open The WORKS Gourmet Burger Bistro. When the franchise’s head office suggested they consider downtown Brantford, she was confused. The place she left behind was not exactly at the top of her list. After some encouragement, she visited the potential downtown location, just down the street from the historic Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts.
That day, everything changed. The streets were busy with groups of smiling students visiting new, local businesses, and Harmony Square was filled with people enjoying activities and live music.
“So much had changed! We were so impressed by the new downtown that we immediately signed the paperwork to open the business.”
Ten years later, The Works has become a staple of the Brantford downtown. Serving up gourmet burgers made with fresh ingredients from a Canadian-born franchise (the first one began in Ottawa), Garbedian has combined her passion for food and business with promoting the downtown. So much so, two of her employees have opened their own businesses downtown – Bathtub Bakery and Alt Boutique.
“I give them so much credit for being fearless enough to open their own business. I love that they chose downtown because there is always something going on. Whether it’s catching a show at the gorgeous Sanderson Centre or going for a skate in Harmony Square or attending one of the many festivals.”
Unfortunately, not everyone shares her positivity when she mentions the location of her restaurant.
“I’m often surprised by the number of people who have said they will not go downtown. It’s too bad because there is so much they are missing out on. There are a lot of amazing people dedicated to moving the city towards a better future.”
She feels that in time the perception of the downtown will change as it continues to grow into a vibrant, inviting place.
“Brantford is small enough for individuals to make a big impact, yet big enough to have so many fantastic amenities.”