Kootenay Savings Credit Union has amalgamated all of its administrative offices into one building.
The credit union is just settling into the second floor of the Trail Medical Building after leasing space at Waneta Plaza and housing some of its accounting, lending and corporate offices at the Trail and Warfield branches.
“It made sense for us to put everyone together under one roof,” said Brent Tremblay, president and CEO of Kootenay Savings. “We’re still settling in but it’s already much more efficient having everyone together, rather than traveling back and fourth between offices.”
Financially it made more sense to buy nearly 80 per cent of the strata building in downtown Trail, instead of renewing a lease at the mall, he said.
The newly renovated space has an open concept feel with offices separated by sliding glass walls.
The credit union has about 60 employees running the second floor office and with additional space being leased out on the second floor and the first floor, Tremblay said there is room to expand in the future if need be.
“We think from a downtown Trail perspective, it certainly should help the downtown core,” he said. “There are a lot more people working here now, who will frequent restaurants and other businesses that will probably see an uptake in business.”
But the increase in professionals for the downtown also means a loss of business people at Waneta Plaza. Kootenay Savings previously leased 9,000 square feet of the 200,000-square-foot mall.
Including the staff that used to run the former Kootenay Savings location at the mall, the plaza has lost about 60 of its 400 professionals, according to mall manager Linda MacDermid.
“We have a lot of vacant office space now but we did know they were leaving because their lease was running up,” she said. “We’ve been working to try and promote a wellness centre on the second floor of the shopping centre and not just for doctors but for physiotherapists, occupational therapy, dentists, you name it.”
The second floor of the mall already houses an eye surgeon, chiropractor, plastic surgeon, doctor and nurse practitioner but has much more space for new businesses or existing ones looking to relocate.
“There’s been a couple of really good recessions already, you know were going through one right now but that’s cyclical, all business is so cyclical,” she said. “We’re not going to quit, we’re going to keep trying.”
MacDermid said the location is great for health professionals because it offers free parking, a ramp and elevator for those with mobility issues and stores and restaurants on the first floor for people looking to kill time before an appointment.
“Id love it if we could do more wellness in the City of Trail,” she said. “If you go to Nelson, you know what it’s like over there. They’ve got so many alternative homeopathic medicine professionals. I wish we could just get more of that.”