Canada 150 means big business for Saskatoon retailers

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WATCH ABOVE: What started as a $500-million government plan to celebrate the nation's 150th birthday has become one of the most pervasive marketing strategies out there including here in Saskatoon. Ryan Kessler reports. – Jun 27, 2017

Canada 150 has some Saskatoon businesses swamped as they approach Canada Day on July 1.

The Flag Shop in Saskatoon is seeing record traffic at its 33rd Street location, according to store owner and operator Judy Denham.

READ MORE: Most Canadians feel $500M for Canada 150 is too much

“It’s been a little overwhelming at times because it has been so busy,” Denham said.

Canada Day is the one time when Canadians aren’t shy about showing their patriotism, but the 150th birthday buzz is like nothing she’s seen since the store opened in 1999, Denham said.

For the fourth year, Phatboy Fireworks is operating pop-up stores in Saskatoon.

New Year’s Eve and Victoria Day have rivaled Canada Day in terms of fireworks sales, but store operator and manager Ayche Gill said there’s little contest in 2017.

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“This year because of the 150th, it’s probably going to be the busiest season of the year,” he said.

In a less conventional move, KFC Canada has rebranded itself as K’ehFC and changed its signage outside the 8th Street location in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: KFC name change in Saskatoon honours Canada’s 150th birthday

Latching onto Canada 150 could be the best branding strategy right now, according to Maureen Bourassa, assistant marketing professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

“Consumers have positive feelings that are activated when they think about Canada’s history, when we think about where we’ve been [and] when we think about how far we’ve come,” Bourassa said.

“These positive feelings from nostalgia get transferred onto the brand and so we think positively about that brand or about that company then too.”

Optimist Canada Day 150 celebrations are planned for Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. CT at Diefenbaker Park, including fireworks starting at 10:40 p.m.