I think that downtown we already have a fair offering of independant, unique stores. A mix of chain stores downtown would compliment this well as it would get a new audience downtown who would see the unique stores they never notice and maybe open up their wallets. They'll come for the stuff they know, but discover something new. When they go up to Limeridge, there is nothing to discover. They always come back with the same bags in their hands.
Downtown defnitely NEEDS a grocery store. The Farmers Market is fine for speciality things such as meat, vegetables/fruit, breads but it's not a quick one stop shop. It's more of an "experience" shopping. If you live right in the core and want a normal grocery store, you've got quite the walk or even drive ahead of you, either to Fortinos at Dundurn in the West or No Frills at Tisdale in the East. Both too far to walk if you'll be carrying heavy bags as well.
Where I live in the Barton/Woodward area I've got a selection of 2 grocery stores within fairly easy walking distance (Price Chopper at Barton/Strathearne and Sobey's at Nash Queenston). One of them is even 24hrs. Both of these stores are crowded on any day of the week, too.
"Above all, Hamilton must learn to think like a city, not a suburban hybrid where residents drive everywhere. What makes Hamilton interesting is the fact it's a city. The sprawl that surrounds it, which can be found all over North America, is running out of time."