The sign on the side of Oil Heritage Road says it all. Oil Springs is about to lose one more business.
In January, Progressive Auto purchased Mid-County Ford from the Melton family. While many expected the locations in Dresden and Wallaceburg to remain open, rumours swirled about the future of the original dealership in Oil Springs.
Mayor Ian Veen says he has yet to talk to Progressive Auto officials, which only rented the property from the Meltons who have retained ownership of the land in Oil Springs. He found out the dealership was moving out of the village by the sign at the side of the road.
“They haven’t come by to see us,” Veen tells The Independent. “I don’t really think they’re interested in Oil Springs anyway.”
Veen says it is disappointing the dealership is closing. It was one of the biggest businesses in the community which has been losing its retail sector for years.
Veen isn’t sure what the affect of the closure will be on the village. “We’ll still have some taxes but we’re going to be missing out on jobs,” he says noting at least two village residents are affected.
“It does hurt it always hurts when the business closes its like one more nail in the coffin,” says Veen.
The mayor says council has talked about what could be done with the property, with some suggesting a small Tim Horton’s location – an idea Veen likes. “A coffee shop would work …Everyone driving through here they’d stop and get a coffee.”
But he says it’s going to be an uphill battle. The village has had meetings about economic development but no one seems too interested in forming an association to bring new business into the area.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” says Veen. “It’s like we’re just a bedroom community; people are just as happy to get their groceries and things in Petrolia.
And Veen adds the problem isn’t new. “It was a blow when we lost our bank – after that it was a downward spiral since then.”