Advertisement

Outlook ‘positive’ for recovery of Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue

Click to play video: 'Outlook ‘positive’ for recovery of Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue' Outlook ‘positive’ for recovery of Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue
WATCH ABOVE: A revolving door of COVID restrictions over the past couple of years has hurt many businesses, including those along Whyte Avenue. While the outlook has been bleak, there seems to be a resurgence in Old Strathcona, with many new businesses popping up. Nicole Stillger has more – Apr 16, 2022

A revolving door of COVID-19 restrictions over the past couple of years has hurt many businesses, including those along Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue.

While the outlook has been bleak, there seems to be a resurgence in Old Strathcona, with many new businesses opening up.

PACT Coffee opened its doors in late March and has been steadily busy since.

Read more: COVID-19 sixth wave renews labour shortage concerns in restaurants and retail

“There’s nothing like the energy of a weekend in here,” said coffee specialist Levi Halsey. “Couldn’t be more grateful for the people that have given us the opportunity to be down here and try out our products.”

On the corner of Whyte Avenue and Calgary Trail, where a Starbucks once was, PACT is one of the newest additions to Old Strathcona.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s just kind of like this sigh of relief almost that we’re getting from people who come through the doors,” Halsey said.

“Like, thank goodness something local, something curated is going into this space because we need the life on this corner.”

Down the block sits Community Taps and Pizza, which has also been open less than a month.

“It’s been amazing! Everyone is so happy to come down, check out the pizza,” said general manager Tyler Olson. “It’s been shocking — it’s been really busy and it’s been hard for us to keep up with the beer and stuff.”

Olson said it’s nice to see many new businesses opening their doors and doing well.

“It was pretty bleak there for about 2 years… It was only like three or four restaurants that were really open — the established ones — and I think it’s awesome now.”

Read more: Small businesses plea for more debt help amid 6th COVID-19 wave

Executive director of the Old Strathcona Business Association, Cherie Klassen said the outlook for Whyte Avenue is positive.

“We definitely had lots of pains at the end of 2020. We saw probably the most businesses close than we have in a long, long time,” Klassen explained.

Story continues below advertisement

Klassen said nine new businesses opened in the first few months of 2022 with several more on the way.

“It is a sigh of relief. There’s a lot of perception there’s a lot of vacancy, but there’s not. Our highest amount of vacancy last year when we measured it was 13 per cent at one point. Now it’s back down to like seven or eight per cent.”

“Lots of economic indicators from retail stats throughout Canada are showing Alberta is leading the way, and even Edmonton is leading the way with recovery of a lot of our commercial business districts.”

Read more: Edmonton’s housing market remains hot for start of 2022

The Rally Social Room on Whyte Ave. is also set to open its doors soon. It took over the former Billiard Club space which closed in the summer of 2020.

“We’re on the verge of things recovering and really a positive outlook looking forward to the summer,” Klassen said.

With festival season around the corner, too, it’s an outlook many businesses in Old Strathcona share.

“It’s going to be a fun summer for sure — back to the glory days of Whyte,” said Olson.

Advertisement

Sponsored content