After having less income than usual this summer because of the pandemic, businesses on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton fear the arrival of winter.
«On Whyte Avenue, the bar Funky Buddha closed and the Billiard Club, over 20 years old, too», Laments Ben Sir, co-owner of Buckingham on the same artery.
Faced with this situation, the entrepreneur considers himself lucky to still be able to serve clients even if, according to him, there is no guarantee that it will last.
«Summer is a normally busy time on the Whyte. When it is winter, it will be even more difficult, predicts the man. It is naive to believe that there will not be more business closures.»
The challenge this winter is that there will be no more terraces and, with social distancing rules, restaurants cannot accommodate as many customers indoors, believes Ben Sir. According to his calculation, that means that he will only get 20% of the income he normally makes.
The co-owner is also worried that the avenue will become less vibrant and attractive given the number of vacant premises.
The Whyte is not doing so badly, according to others
Cherie Klassen from the Association of Enterprises in the Old Strathcona sees the situation on popular avenue in Alberta’s capital better.
«Of the more than 600 businesses on the Whyte, only a dozen have closed since April, she said. It is not more than in normal times.»
She adds, moreover, that the number of businesses that are opening currently exceeds the number of those that are closing.
Nevertheless, according to business owners, it will be necessary to be creative to face the winter and collaborate with other businesses on the avenue so as not to sink.
«This is Edmonton, it is minus a million degrees six months of the year. We have to find ways with the City to attract people here», Judge Ben Sir. Among other things, the latter launched the idea of creating outdoor spaces under tents on the avenue.
With information from Travis McEwan
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