While Edmonton’s 124th Street All is Bright Festival is aimed at bringing light and vibrancy to the area, some local business owners say they hope that comes with more foot traffic. While business has picked up, some are still feeling the impacts of the pandemic and now facing inflationary pressures.
For months, Kloy Parker, owner of Bling Gifts and Decor on 124 Street has been preparing his store with all sorts of Christmas themed items for the holiday season.
“It’s always been a big part of our business,” Parker said.
He and many other business owners on 124th have been looking forward to the lead up to Christmas and events like the All is Bright Festival, which was held Saturday.
“An event like this brings an uptick in traffic, it builds awareness of the business community, it brings awareness of the holiday season that’s coming up,” Glasses Half Full optometrist Michael Kreuzer said. He also held a Dogs With Wings Fundraiser the same night.
“It’s crucial for us — foot traffic is about 80 per cent of our business,” Parker said.
Much needed visitors after a tough few pandemic years. Now there are new challenges with having to deal with high inflation.
“You can definitely feel it, so we’ve gone out of our way to choose our items wisely. (By) sticking with Canadian items we’re cutting out things border crossing fees and the difference between the Canadian and American dollar,” Parker said.
He said he does what he can to not raise prices but inflationary pressures do not make it easy.
“We have to pass on what we have to pass on to them but we definitely eat a lot of the cost of it too,” Parker said.
“When basic costs increase, then their costs of doing business and what their profit margins becomes is more slimmer,” 124 Street Business Association executive director Luwam Kiflemariam said.
To support owners, the 124 Street Business Association has several events and projects in the works to enhance street beautification and vibrancy.
“It’s where you can find unique gifts, it’s where you can find locally owned restaurants and services,” Kiflemariam said.
It’s an experience the association and businesses said you can’t quite get doing online shopping.
“The ability to see, touch and know what you’re getting, I think, is a unique experience I know I enjoy,” Kiflemariam said.
“These types of pieces, the uniqueness and the quality of everything almost has to be experienced,” Parker said.