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Downtown Lethbridge BRZ introduces new initiatives for holiday season

Click to play video: 'Holiday shopping kicks off, new incentives introduced for downtown Lethbridge' Holiday shopping kicks off, new incentives introduced for downtown Lethbridge
The Downtown Lethbridge BRZ is ramping up its supports for local businesses as the holidays approach, encouraging residents to explore the core of the city. Eloise Therien has more on what new initiatives are being put in place. – Nov 17, 2021

After being somewhat restricted in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone is introducing a handful of new incentives to boost support for businesses ahead of the winter holidays.

Emily Chong, the marketing coordinator for the BRZ, said one of their main focuses is to support shopping local as the pandemic continues.

“This year we felt that it was really important to just get people down here,” she explained. “Almost everything we’re doing is brand new this year.”

As part of their Heart of the Holidays incentives, parking in the downtown core will be free the first three Fridays of December.

Additionally, shoppers who spend $50 or more at downtown businesses on November 26 will be able to show their receipts to receive a free gift for a Black Friday deal.

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Also new is a month-long window decorating contest for businesses, with a chance to win advertising prizes.

Chong said the downtown market will be coming back for the second year on Nov. 27, as well as small business boxes which will be sold on Dec. 1.

“We did the holiday market last year, and it was such a big hit,” she said. “I think people really liked that it was outdoors.”

Read more: Supply chain woes threaten COVID-19 recovery for small businesses

Analog Books will be celebrating its first anniversary this weekend, and owners are already seeing more shoppers out and about.

“It’s been quite steady especially on the weekends,” said Penny Warris. “We’ve been really happy with the support.”

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Despite some setbacks due to supply chain issues, Warris said the store is currently well-stocked.

“There’s a lot of new things happening and there’s a lot of buzz happening down here,” she added.

Decor Out The Door, a local business that moved downtown in late August, said being in the core of the city has resulted in more foot traffic and more support from neighbours and organizations.

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“So far, so good, we’re loving downtown,” said owner Audrina Steciw . “It’s a totally different vibe than our other store.

“You feel independent here, but you have those supports that you don’t have in other areas of the city and it’s actually been really nice.”

Steciw added they dodged supply issues by ordering really early in the year, and are helped by the fact many of the store’s products come from Lethbridge and surrounding area.

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“(Customers are) also wanting local and locally made, so it’s a win-win there,” she explained.

“I think that is still very true for customers this year as it was last year.”

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