‘Tis the season to shop local

The days to shop for Christmas presents are dwindling down and businesses in Penticton are hoping consumers choose to do it locally.

Sue Houghton carries an armload of Christmas gifts to their destination in downtown Penticton this weekend. Retailers are hoping area residents will shop locally this holiday season.

The days to shop for Christmas presents are dwindling down and businesses in Penticton are hoping consumers choose to do it locally.

“Sadly our biggest competition by far is Kelowna. About a third of our retail demand in Penticton leaves town and goes north and certainly we will never stop it,” said Gary Leaman, general manager at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. “But, everything that comes to Penticton for instance when Wal-Mart opened, Canadian Tire opened, when Zellers opened, Cherry Lane’s sales all went up because people have less reason to leave town. When the downtown is full and vibrant we are happy with that because it is one more reason for people to stay in town.”

Leaman said already they have noticed an increase in people coming through the doors of Cherry Lane this Christmas season. Cherry Lane has four new tenants this year and a number of returning businesses that set up kiosks throughout the shopping centre.

“Retail leasing in a small market can be a challenge, because with the national tenants it is tough to get their attention in a smaller market. We have a couple of vacancies, but we have some traction on all of them and paper flowing on prospects. From the time you start talking to a tenant to the time they open their doors, it can be a year or more,” said Leaman. “Our CRU (commercial retail units) which is non-anchor sales are up a little over one percent year-to-date, which given all the doom and gloom in the marketplace and world economy, we are pretty happy with that.”

Part of keeping shoppers coming through the doors is providing a family atmosphere by having Santa appear daily until Christmas Eve to take photos with children and an abundance of holiday cheer with events such as schools coming in to perform Christmas songs.

“We want people to come in to not just shop. People are walking around looking for that perfect thing and that Christmas feeling, so it is kind of neat when you can go under one roof and find it,” said Phyllis Ritchie, marketing director at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.

The Downtown Penticton Association also hosts a number of events throughout the year and especially during the Christmas season — starting off with the Santa Parade held last weekend. The community Christmas market is held Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the Penticton Lakeside Resort up until Dec. 18.  Shop, Stamp and Win has also returned to the downtown core. The buy local initiative will draw for two $500 Downtown Dollar packages on Dec. 22.

“Shopping local is really important whether you shop downtown or you shop elsewhere in Penticton, just shop local. I’m hoping people will continue doing that,” said Barb Haynes, executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association. “When the community supports downtown business they can then offer to give back as well. Daily these business owners are asked for donations and the businesses are very generous.”

Haynes said the Santa Parade brought out thousands of people to the downtown core last weekend and filled restaurants, cafés and stores. She hopes that trend continues with the milder weather and free Saturday parking recently implemented by the City of Penticton council.

While online shopping poses some threat to local business, Haynes said about 12 new stores have opened downtown in the last year that offer a variety of unique things.

“If you are looking for unique and different then downtown is the No.1 place to be,” said Haynes.

Just Posted

Justice to decide court’s jurisdiction over Indigenous man

Alex Louie, also known as Senklip, is standing trial over 9 charges related to alleged gun smuggling

Driver trapped for 16 hours after car flips

Member of Anarchist Mountain Volunteer Fire Department in Osoyoos made discovery while out for walk

Increase in carbon monoxide closes Osoyoos arena

South Okanagan arena closed as of Monday morning to deal with repairs

Penticton pilots new mobile parking payment app

Eliminating the need to carry change for parking meters

Artist recruitment begins for 2018 sculpture exhibition

Penticton is looking for sculptors to participate in its second public sculpture exhibition

Rally condemns violence, promotes healing

Discovery of human remains and disappearances of women have created tension in the rural community

Province grants $784,000 for Okanagan projects

Rural Dividend grants support Okanagan community projects

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek RCMP search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

B.C. school trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Chilliwack’s Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Most Read