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Bernard Ave. Revitalization  

Bernard businesses put on brave face

After one week of construction work on Bernard Avenue, reactions were mixed among the businesses directly affected by the road closure.

While there is a general agreement that traffic has slowed down since the revitalization began, some business have seen only a small reduction in the number of customers visiting them while others are feeling the pinch.

A recent poll of Castanet readers indicated that some shoppers will avoid Bernard Avenue until the work is done.

Of the 1,107 respondents, 59 percent said they would not shop in the area while the work is underway.

The timing couldn't have been worse for Calowna Costume at 538 Bernard with the work beginning two months before Halloween.

"My stomach still hurts to be honest," says Manager Kerri Brandel.

"We've definitely seen a slow down. We're definitely worried and we're kind of keeping our fingers crossed."

Brandel says they have been helped by shoppers sympathetic to their plight.

"I think Kelowna as a whole has been awesome because people are purposely coming here to help us out. At the end of it, with the community support, it's going to be a beautiful downtown."

Still, there have been other problems related to the road work.

"We had our water shut off for about an hour today, unexpectedly, but what are you going to do? The construction guys have been amazing with us, keeping us informed and on top of things."

Across the street at Style Boutique, Lynora Darling says things have slowed down, but she encouraged shoppers not to let the road work stop them from coming downtown.

"I think everybody should come and have a look and walk around downtown and see what they're doing down here. I think it's going to be a great move for Kelowna."

Further down the street, Melissa-Ann Davies of Tripke's Bakery and Bistro says things have been good. She added that they made sure their regulars were informed that they would still be open for business and so far it's paid off.

"All of our customers who come here a lot are still coming, so that's been really nice."

Some businesses are holding sales during the first week in a bid to entice shoppers to the area, as well as trying other methods with mixed results.

However, all were unanimous in wanting to let everyone know that in spite of the road work, it's business as usual and you're welcome to come downtown and find out.

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