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Calgary’s Chinatown rolling out the welcome wagon for customers

Click to play video 'Chinatown business owners want Calgarians to come back' Chinatown business owners want Calgarians to come back
WATCH: The Calgary Chinatown Business Improvement Area is getting creative in an effort to attract foot traffic to the area. As Jenna Freeman reports, all the businesses are open again and owners are looking for customers to return at a physical distance. – Jul 6, 2020

The Chinatown District Business Improvement Association has taken to creative digital initiatives to encourage Calgarians back to the area amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many small businesses were able to stay open when others were forced to shut down, some owners said traffic has slowed significantly.

Rosetta Chan owns a bubble tea restaurant and works with her daughter, Carol. They said that fortunately because they are a small operation, they stayed open for take-out.

“It was very quiet,” said Carol Chan. “And it didn’t help that we lost a lot of the people that usually typically walk in [during] their lunch hour in the downtown area.”

The Chinatown BIA has encouraged people to use their social media platform for an online scavenger hunt. They hoped it would bring more foot traffic to the area during Stampede week, which before COVID-19 would have been bustling with activity.

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Read more: Calgary’s Chinatown reports business drop of up to 80 per cent over COVID-19 fears

Executive director for the BIA said Chinatown has persevered through catastrophic events and this pandemic is no different.

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“We’ve been through the flood and now COVID,” explained Terry Wong. “They took their time to come back and now they’re fully prepared, ready to engage their customer base.”

Thanks to a steady social media stream, the marketing strategist for Calgary Chinatown BIA said that the business district managed to increase its online presence greatly.

“Digital content has really excelled,” Brian Wong said. “Our Instagram followers has increased 500 per cent.”

The BIA hoped it can use the online scavenger hunt to entice foot traffic to the area as well.

“We want to bring them out to experience it personally as well.”

The Chan family felt fortunate to see the organization support local business.

Rosetta Chan said they feel cautiously optimistic and that people have slowly been trickling back to Chinatown.

“You have to keep in mind this virus could keep going,” she said. “You don’t know about the second wave.”

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The online scavenger hunt will run the 10 days that would have been Stampede 2020.

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