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Businesses benefit from Fredericton’s FROSTival

Northside Creator's Market, Jan. 21, 2024. Jim Middleton runs the market and said new people have learned about it through FROSTival's website. Anna Mandin / Global News

Local businesses have opened their doors to people in Fredericton as part of the city’s FROSTival.

Matthew Johnson owns Bertie’s Café, which is about 45 minutes outside of Fredericton.

“All restaurants will confirm with you that January and February are very typically down seasons,” he said.

The business, which also serves food like sandwiches and pizzas, started closing its doors in the winter when business slowed down during the pandemic. This is the first year since then that they’re open in January and February.

And their first dinner has already gone well.

“At a time when we wouldn’t have seen anyone, so I mean you’re going from nothing to — it was a packed house,” he said.

His business is one of 32 in Fredericton and the surrounding area participating in “Dine Around Freddy,” part of the city’s FROSTival celebration.

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The initiative involves three-course meals from the restaurants for $42.

But restaurants aren’t the only ones seeing an increase in business.

Market sees rise in customers

Jim Middleton runs the Northside Creator’s Market, a not-for-profit in Fredericton. The market includes vendors selling anything from coffee to paintings to earrings. It’s offering food and hot chocolate as part of FROSTival.

“It’s nice when you hear people come to the door and walking through going, ‘I didn’t even realize this market was here,’ and they saw it on the FROSTival website,” Middleton said.

Katherine Van Kampen owns Second Nature Outdoors, an outdoor adventure company. It’s normally only open in the summer, but it’s offering snow shoeing tours this year as part of FROSTival.

“This year with FROSTival kinda coming in, it was a great opportunity to kind of, maybe look at broadening things that we do,” she said.

And she said the extra revenue will help as the business recovers from the pandemic.

“The last couple of years for small businesses, and ourselves included, has, you know, it’s been a challenge,” she said.

She and Johnson are both considering staying open again next winter.

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“I have a pretty good feeling at this point, so I can’t see why not at this point. I think the question might be whether we can maintain even more hours,” Johnson said.

FROSTival is hosted by the Fredericton Capital Region between Jan. 18 and Feb. 4. It involves free activities like skating and concerts, and paid experiences like bookbinding classes and paint nights.

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