This week we had the pleasure to sit down and have a coffee with the wonderful Kole Dalgleish. Kole is the owner of various Medicine Hat businesses and is definitely considered one of this cities influential players. We were very grateful that she made some time for us in her schedule.

Those of you who have met Kole, or even better, had your hair done by her, will know thepresence she brings to any conversation. Her salon, Red Velvet Hair and Body Bar on 3rd Street SE Medicine Hat, is billed as having a ‘no BS mentality’ and that is certainly the energy Kole brings to the table. It is obvious when Kole feels passionate about something, she doesn’t hold back. Luckily for all of us her passion right now is our cities core.

Kole: ‘I just believe in Downtown. I think that the heart of every community is Downtown and I think our own Downtown has the ability to grow and do so much. This is the time to get into business down here, because I don’t believe in two or three years it’s going to be affordable. It’s just going to grow so rapidly, there are so many people passionate about it. There are some core things that need to go in Downtown to make it a livable situation and I think those things will happen.’

‘I think the real downtown life is that you live and you work and you shop and at the moment down town is missing some of those elements. A higher end grocery store is I think a core element missing from here right now.

As much as people complain about parking Downtown i don’t think that it’s that big of an issue. Having free two hour parking and a free city owned parking spaces in the area is a great advantage. Not many other communities can say that about their Downtown.

Jen: ‘Tell us about your current Downtown projects. Tell us what’s happening with Ko[Lab]+.’ (pronounced co-lab)

Kole: ‘Ko[Lab]+ is what I have going into the former Greyhound building. Ko[Lab]+is going to be a full suite of beauty services as well as retail spaces, even a space to grab a drink and a bite to eat. I also have KรถHab, a number of living spaces Downtown, which I’m so jealous of right now. I’m actually looking for my own living space Downtown because I just want to live down here so much now. It was really important when I was building those living spaces that they were affordable but not ‘low end’. I think there’s that medium road where you can have really great living with that ‘down town’ vibe that’s still at an afford able rate.’

Jen: ‘I think you’re right about what you said earlier. The sooner people get onboard with what’s happening down here, the more affordable it will be.’

Kole: ‘Yeah, the more development that happens the less affordable things will get. The city has some great incentive programs however.’

Jen: ‘ We’ll post links to those incentive programs at the end of this so people can check that out. You mentioned that Ko[Lab]+ will have several retail spaces. What was the thinking behind that?

Kole: ‘I was in Savannah Georgia not so long ago and found that there were stores there that hosted smaller ‘micro’ businesses in their spaces. I th

ought that was such a great idea for getting retailers that might not be in a position to rent or buy property Downtown to get a foot in the door. I wanted to include that in my businesses too.’

Move to the Hat would like to thank Kole for her time and for showing us around some of her living spaces and the Ko[Lab]+ space too. We were very impressed and would love to go into some more of the details but we’ve been told no spoilers. Trust us when we say that there is some really exciting things happening there.

Here is the link to the Downtown development incentive programs and CCDA incentives should you or anyone you know be looking to open your own business Downtown.