Buttermilk Fine Waffles on 17 Avenue S.W. in downtown Calgary went out with a bang, with a lineup almost out the door on its last day on Monday.
“It’s really meaningful, because we’ve put a lot of our blood, sweat and tears into this,” said Buttermilk owner Sam Friley.
After three and a half years, the restaurant handed over the keys to their landlord.
It’s another local business lost to tough economic times in Calgary.
Like many, Buttermilk owner Sam Friley said the city’s ongoing $44 million construction project on 17 Avenue S.W. and the rise of taxes put them over the edge, forcing them to walk away.
“Just those two things together have created a really impossible situation for a lot of businesses.”
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So many closures are keeping other brick and mortar shops on edge down the road, like Tahir Khan who owns Philosafy Coffee.
“Very very scary, even though the construction’s been done now,” Khan said, “but we are just working to compensate for all the revenues lost.”
Khan is hustling to keep his coffee shop alive.
“My brothers and I, we’re working a lot here ourselves, so we’re just kind of not really paying ourselves a lot of money,” Khan added. “So I guess that’s probably the recipe.”
So what’s the key to survival? For The Ship & Anchor, a fixture of the Calgary pub scene for 28 years, it’s about the regulars.
“We’ve had many years to put down some roots and become a real hub of community for many people that live in the area, and so that helps,” said Nicola Trolez, marketing manager for The Ship & Anchor. “We have a really varied clientele, everybody from 18 to 80.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what the new year will bring on 17 Avenue in terms of turnover or new businesses.
“It’s up to us as a city and a community to keep supporting these local businesses,” Friley said. “Ultimately they’re going to create that texture to our city that you’re never going to get with franchise and big box stores.”