Scott Rumpel

Downtown eateries flock to Langford

Restaurant operators look to keep the West Shore crowd closer to home

The 700-block of Goldstream Avenue appears to be a magnet for downtown eateries looking to expand their reach into the West Shore.

Bin4 Burger Lounge set up shop last year and Darcy’s Pub announced recently it will move into the Station House space. A little ways down the road, tradespeople have been busy of late converting a former paint and wallpaper store into the next Brown’s Social House.

Brown’s owners Scott and Brad Rumpel, both raised in Langford, had hoped to open their first restaurant in their hometown, but circumstances and opportunities led them downtown first, then to Nanaimo.

“It’s really exciting for us to be opening in Langford,” Scott said Monday before engaging in the final day of a hiring fair for the new location. “It’s such a growing area and the demographics have changed over the years. I just feel there is a need for this type of service here.”

He expects they’ll hire upwards of 70 people for full- and part-time work in advance of the projected April 22 opening date, with the final number settling closer to 50 once they’ve been open several months.

Only a handful of employees from the Douglas Street site will transfer to Langford, Rumpel added, meaning the majority will be new and mostly local hires.

Darcy’s, also targeted to open in April after renovations are completed, will have an estimated 45 staffers – up from 18 at the Station House.

The added employment and economic development is good news for the region’s fastest-growing municipality, says administrator Jim Bowden.

“I think it bodes well for Langford,” he said. “We see it as a very positive development. The fact they’re making their way out here – significant businesses that have a good reputation – bodes well for the confidence in Langford. I think it’s the up-and-coming place and people want to be out here.”

With Langford’s population in the range of 33,000, the market is ripe for the addition of services and amenities, he added.

Council’s goal is to help ensure there are jobs for current residents and those who will eventually move into the area, Bowden said. As well, the city would like to encourage the province to move some of its operations here to help reduce traffic tie-ups heading  into town, he said.

Rumpel, who will work at the Langford Brown’s as general manager, smiled when asked if he expects the new restaurant to become his company’s busiest.

“I’d like to think yes, with the growth we’ve seen in this area,” he said.

With a projected 120 seats inside and another 40 to 50 on the patio, it’ll definitely be the largest of the Rumpels’ three locations. As the name implies, he hopes it becomes a place where people on the West Shore come to socialize over a meal or a beverage.

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