Christmas season in Burns Lake: ‘It’s been slow for us merchants’

Christmas season in Burns Lake: ‘It’s been slow for us merchants’

Gift certificate program’s sales decreasing

While a recent survey that involved 52 local businesses suggested a positive outlook in Burns Lake, some businesses are hurting.

Wayne Brown, owner of Process 4 circle arts Gallery, said this Christmas season didn’t generate as many sales compared with previous years.

“It’s been very slow for all of us as merchants,” said Brown. “People aren’t shopping [locally] like they used to.”

Brown said factors such as favourable weather, which allows people to drive to bigger centres to shop, and online shopping have been the biggest obstacles.

“This online shopping has killed retail in small towns,” Brown said. “There are so many Amazon boxes going through that post office, it’s just ridiculous. If things don’t change in five years time, you won’t see small shops.”

Meanwhile campaigns that encourage local shopping have not been enough to turn the tide for small businesses, he said.

One exception, said Brown, was the Plaid Friday event, held on Nov. 29, when his business had 94 people coming in.

“That was a wonderful event, very successful, but other than that it’s been tough,” Brown said.

But not every business in Burns Lake is experiencing a decline in sales.

Greg Brown, owner of the Burns Lake Home Hardware, said the amount of sales this season is comparable to that of last year’s.

Paul Hilliard, owner of Woods n’ Water, said this season’s sales were satisfactory, but that he hasn’t yet compared them with previous years.

The vast majority of businesses (86 per cent) that participated in Burns Lake’s latest Business Walk, conducted between Oct. 24-25, said their operations have been “steady” or “increasing.”

READ MORE: Survey suggests ‘positive outlook’ in Burns Lake

But the sales of local gift certificates, designed to keep shopping dollars in the Lakes District, have taken a hit.

The Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce sold $53,584 worth of gift certificates in 2017; $31,600 in 2018; and as of Dec. 17, it has sold $26,435 in 2019, said Randi Amendt, the Chamber’s executive director.

“We have seen a decrease over the last three years and the main reason would be the larger businesses in our community have not been purchasing as many for their employees for the holiday season,” Amendt said, adding that about 75 per cent of gift certificate sales take place during the Christmas season.

Launched in November 2015, the local gift certificates program allows people to shop at 23 different local businesses.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Christmas season in Burns Lake: ‘It’s been slow for us merchants’

Just Posted

Vaccinations are set to resume in the small community of Tatchet, according to Lake Babine Nation’s Deputy Chief. (Black Press Media file photo)
Lake Babine Nation vaccine rollout resumes after a short pause

A COVID positive test within the care team had put the vaccinations on hold

Cheslatta Chief Corrina Leween received one of the COVID-19 vaccines on the Southside, on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
COVID-19 vaccination begins in Burns Lake

Senior population, health care workers and First Nations among the first to get the vaccine

Sasquatch sighting. (Omineca Ski Club photo/Lakes District News)
Sasquatch on the loose at Omineca Ski Club

Head out to the trails to see if you can spot it; a tongue-in-cheek response from the club President

Two books in particular became quite popular at the start of the pandemic — Soap and Water Common Sense, The definitive guide to viruses’ bacteria, parasites, and disease and The Great Influenza, The story of the deadliest pandemic in history. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake Public Library lent 20,916 books in 2020

Gained 67 new patrons throughout the year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read