It’s December and the rush and panic of Holiday shopping is – in most places – in full swing. And in the centre of Downtown Halifax, streets are closed to traffic, sidewalks are impassable, and small businesses are suffering. This is an interruption that has been ongoing for more than a year, and will continue beyond the next.
While in the long run, these construction projects should lead to a revitalization of the downtown core, attracting tourists and business travelers alike, the latest announcement of street closures happening throughout December certainly could certainly have a detrimental effect. Or, it could ignite the true spirit of the season, a sense of togetherness. And the latter is what happened.
Started by Andrea Rahal, along with her partner and staff at Inkwell, a growing group of local businesses have banded together and are using the hashtag #HfxPylonClub to encourage people to support local stores and restaurants. They’re offering incentives to people who pick up a #HfxPylonClub pin in one of the participating locations. With this movement just days old, the initial impact has been extremely positive. Competing against Black Friday mall madness, Inkwell happily reported that they not only received a great show of support from their loyal fan-base, but also welcomed a number of new customers.
Businesses outside of the construction fray have also been lending a grand show of support. Fred Connors, a local salon owner, graciously offered up space to these local businesses as a temporary pop-up location for use through the holiday season. Response to his offer was large and swift, and we look forward to seeing the result. Similar offers have come from the Halifax Downtown Business Commission who has offered short-term use of store fronts in the Historic Properties.
On a larger scale, this initiative has prompted discussion between the Canadian Federation of Small Business, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and Halifax City Council. The CFIB has recommended that Halifax Council institute a Construction Mitigation Project to offset disruptions from future large scale projects, and also asked that council consider some form of compensation for businesses that have lost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of income during this time.
The good news is that the schedule for street closures has been amended, and the paving work expedited. The struggle however does continue. We hate to see any of our local businesses struggling and we encourage you to continue shopping local, and put your dollars back into your local economy. Leave your car, explore on foot, and re-acquaint yourself with your city’s unique shops and services.
To learn more about #HFXPylonClub, read or watch the related links. And use #hfxpylonclub on twitter to stay up to date.
Downtown Halifax businesses band together to increase sales – CTV News Atlantic, 2015
Small downtown business suffering due to Nova Centre construction – Global News, 2015
Businesses near Nova Centre get a break – The Chronicle Herald, 2015
Nova Centre construction casualties turn to #HfxPylonClub – CBC Nova Scotia, 2015
HFX Pylon Club supports downtown biz affected by Nova Centre construction – Halifax Metro, 2015
Inkwell Boutique in Halifax feeling construction pain – The Signal, 2015