Local retail optimistic after Christmas shopping season ends | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Local retail optimistic after Christmas shopping season ends

    The Christmas season is undoubtedly the busiest time for retail outlets. The overall trend over the past month has been indefinable, with some businesses experiencing a decrease, while others saw business as usual.
    In Drumheller, a topic concerning many is the competition of local retail outlets versus developing retail destinations, such as in Balzac.
    In response to these concerns, the Economic Development Taskforce conducted a survey to gauge where and why valley residents were shopping. The results indicated that male residents have increased the amount they shop out of town or online.
    Some retail outlets in the downtown area have firsthand experience of those results. The 2011 season was slower than that of the previous year.
    “I would say it’s been about 10 per cent slower than last year,” estimates Shirley Briault, owner of SJ Fashions. “They are buying more in gift certificates than merchandise, but it’s been a bit slower.”
    However, other local businesses downtown did not see any differences to prior years.
    “December has been good,” said Dave Powell, owner of Source for Sports. On being asked whether being one of the few local businesses open on Boxing Day, Powell replied, “It was worthwhile being open for sure.”
    “We were busy, but with price compression, we have to sell more units to keep up,” said Mark Notland, owner of the Sears in Drumheller. “We had a busy Boxing Day."
    There have been efforts to remedy the perceived desertion of local business by area residents, such as the Moonlight Madness event held at the beginning of the Christmas Shopping season.
    Despite the deals on offer, the event may be losing steam.
    “Moonlight Madness was a bit quiet, I think it’s run its course,” said Powell.
    “I think what should be done is that it should be one day only, instead of having three or four days of it,” said Briault. “Have it with the Santa parade. Make the parade at night to bring people downtown. Like Stettler, they have Midnight Madness and have a bonfire and hot dogs. We have nothing to attract people downtown. Make it special.”    
    The shopping survey highlighted that many feel in terms of selection and price, that local retail stores did not meet their needs. Another cause that may have contributed to a decline could have been construction downtown, which blocked many businesses.
    For the upcoming year local businesses are approaching it with optimism.
    “I hope it’s going to be a better year, it sounds like it will be good,” said Briault.


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