Despite rain, wind and even snow in recent days, vendors on Langford’s Station Avenue are feeling optimistic for business over the next few months.
Opened in May, the Langford Station Cultural Quarter aimed to establish a town center community hub by revitalizing the site of the old station, where the E&N Railway operated, setting up artist studios, stalls business, a performance stage and space for food trucks.
Events throughout the summer and fall have drawn crowds, most recently a Halloween “Treat Street” and Food Truck Festival on October 29-30. These have helped increase foot traffic, although business hasn’t always flowed for some of the vendors, according to Shayla Hann of Hannmade Designs, one of the Station Avenue artisans.
“In the summer it was good – the live music and what they did on the weekends attracted more people. Over time, much like Friday nights when they had the beer truck here, it became like a routine for people to come. So they weren’t necessarily shopping, which was a shame. It was like a gathering place for them because they knew they could find beer here,” she said.
“So we were a little nervous about the food truck festival because we were like, ‘OK, well, it’s just going to be another thing where people can come and hang out. But we don’t know if they will be so interested in shopping. But to our surprise, it was a very good day, a very good weekend.
One thing Hann wants to see is the events spread along the length of Station Avenue, to help all vendors, which she said the city of Langford said it will be aiming for in the future.
Overall, Hann said sales were good in the summer and she hopes people will be in a shopping mood come Christmas.
At the other end of the avenue, Lillian Hutson also hopes more shoppers will show up at Christmas after a slightly slower September and October – which are typically slow months in retail, Hutson says . Her beauty product business started out as a home-based business, but now she appreciates having permanent studio space – her shipping container doubles as a store and studio.
“I’ve done the markets for years and just finished my last one of the season – I’m going to keep doing them because I love my markets. But it’s amazing, pitching the tent and the rain and all the rest, I’ve done it where I’m like, ‘I wonder if my hair is ever going to dry out?’ So to have this space transition to winter is amazing. I was doing this at home and had my little studio at home, so the separation now is pretty cool.
Both Hann and Hutson said it was easy to work with the town of Langford and hoped other events in the future would draw people to Station Avenue.
“I think that’s how we get through things like COVID – how we get through it together. If you know your neighbours, and the more people you know, she makes the chocolate, she has the soap…we are stronger together.
Station Avenue will be open throughout the winter months, with vendors required to keep their businesses open for five hours a day Thursday through Sunday.
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