Penticton businesses have seen a drop their downtown customers coming in

Slow foot traffic downtown

Casey Richardson

Some downtown Penticton businesses say they are seeing lower foot traffic come through their doors, especially in the recent weeks, which they attribute to less tourists visiting and residents opting to order online instead. 

“Obviously with the recent changes, things have quieted down a little bit. We’ve kind of noticed a pretty big difference in the last few weeks especially, it just seems like people are staying home,” Ashlyn Olafson, owner of Blenz. 

“I think we’ve seen a bit of a decline due to the pandemic and people worried about coming out in public,” Donny Ellis, owner of the Bumwrap said. 

Store owners like Ellis believe that people are avoiding going out as much as previous years, wanting to be cautious. But he also sees them working to put their money into local spots. 

“I think we’re starting to see people try to support their local businesses. Small business is the heart and core of the community. Without the small business in town, I think it’d be a pretty cold feeling to have an empty street without a main street,” he said. 

Ellis added that there have been influxes of sales throughout, like online purchases and with black Friday deals this week.  

Another clothing shop on Main Street has had its customers start looking at items online before deciding to come into the store to get it, coming in solely to buy rather than browse. 

“Because they want to make their decisions to be a little quicker when they want to come into the store, they're definitely open to making sure that they’ve seen what they like online,” Matt Robertson, co-owner of Elliott Row said. “But we are down a little bit.” 

Stores are noticing a difference in how people are choosing to spend their money too. 

The Bumwrap inventory has been updated to adapt stocking fewer swimsuits that would usually be a popular item for travellers to buy and increasing clothing and other holiday gifts items. 

“It’ll be hard to tell how much of an impact it has until we’re on the other side to really feel the effects. It’s so up and down right now,” Ellis said. 

Owners along Main Street are also feeling support from the other shops, seeing more camaraderie build rather than competition. 

“Everyone's just finding ways to help each other out to make ends meet and be able to get through this winter regardless of what happens with COVID,” Olafson said.

“We're all trying to stand together,” Robertson added. 

The Bumwrap, Elliot Row and Blenz continue to run options for online ordering and take home purchases, adapting to government guidelines and keep their customers safe.

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