A new business has opened in downtown Prince Albert.
Anwar Group International, or AGI, officially celebrated the open their Prince Albert branch Monday. The business, owned by Saskatoon’s Naveed Anwar, welcomed Mayor Greg Dionne, representatives from both MLA offices and city councillors, as well as clients at their Central Avenue location over the lunch hour Monday.
The business provides business and individual tax and accounting services while also doubling as a travel agency.
“It is basically a tax consultancy and travel agency,” said Ammad Anwar, Naveed’s son who works out of the Prince Albert office. He said the business specializes in taxes, bookkeeping and payroll for small businesses, farms and self-employed people.
Ammad explained how his dad got into the dual businesses.
“He had experience with a travel agency before, and he took business education from Concordia University,” he said.
“He started this venture in Saskatoon in 2007. He’s been running both successfully for almost 10 years.”
While the joint ventures of taxes and travel agency may sound like a strange combination, it appears to be working.
“Everyone loves to travel when they get time,” Ammad said.
“For people coming for taxes, it’s their best chance. They can have both things in one place instead of going somewhere else. We have a lot of clients for travel needs.”
The business has been exploring an expansion for about two years. The timing was right this year to make the move, partly due to the location, and partly because Ammad returned to Saskatchewan from Toronto.
“We have existing clients in Prince Albert,” Ammad said, mentioning businesses such as the Spice trail, Grey Cabs, Family Cabs and AJ Foods as examples. They also have personal clients.
“Before they had to travel to Saskatoon. Now they come here.”
Coun. Evert Botha was one of the guests at the grand opening Monday. As a board member of the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District and a city councillor, he was pleased to see another new business open downtown.
“It’s always great to have a new business open, especially on Central Avenue,” he said, especially a business that provides essential services at a very affordable price.
“To se empty windows be filled again and see more care and more people downtown I think is great. We have more people working downtown and more people coming downtown accessing services.”
Ammad appreciated all the support.
“(The city) welcomed us very warmly,” he said. “It was a very good response and it was a pleasure. We feel very energetic, and we feel this opportunity will give us lots of business.
AGI is the latest business to open up downtown. Other recent additions include Gail Carlson’s gallery, Skin Junkies, a tattoo parlour that opened late last year and the Société canadiene-français de Prince Albert, which recently moved across from City Hall.
Prim and Proper Décor also opened near the end of 2017 along Central Avenue.
Botha sees potential for the downtown area to keep growing.
“I think long term we expect to see some plans from City Hall about what a revitalized downtown will look like,” Botha said.
“I do believe business owners opening up shop have seen value in being downtown.”
Botha said he is looking forward to future discussions about incentives to attract more people from other cities to downtown P.A.
“People are coming back downtown,” he said. “It’s a great little place for niche businesses and niche markets. Some of the best-kept secrets in Prince Albert are awaiting people downtown. It’s a growing market and it’s a market that’s on the hunt for unique products and services.”
AGI is located beside Scentiments floral in the 1200 block of Central Avenue.