Despite dealing with rain, wind and even snow in recent days, Langford’s Station Avenue vendors are feeling upbeat about business over the coming months.
Opening back in May, Langford Station Cultural District aimed to establish a downtown community hub by revitalizing the old train station site, where the E&N Railway used to run, installing artists studios, business stalls, a performance stage and space for food trucks.
Events throughout the summer and autumn have attracted crowds, most recently a Halloween “treat street” and a food truck festival on Oct. 29 and 30. These have helped boost foot traffic, although business hasn’t always flowed for some of the vendors, according to Shayla Hann of Hannmade Designs, one of the artisans on Station Avenue.
“In the summer was fine – the live music and what they were doing on the weekends brought more people. Over time, kind of like on Friday nights, when they had the beer truck here it kind of just became like routine for people to come by. So they weren’t necessarily shopping, which was unfortunate. It was just like a gathering spot for them because they knew they could get beer here,” she said.
”So we were a little nervous about the food truck festival because we’re like, ‘OK, well, it’s just gonna be another thing where people can come and hang out.’ But we don’t know if they’re gonna be that interested in shopping. But to our surprise, it was a very good day, very good weekend.”
One thing Hann wants to see is the events spread out along the length of Station Avenue, to help all the vendors, something she said the City of Langford said they’d aim for in the future.
Overall, Hann said sales were good in the summer and she’s hopeful that come Christmas people will be in a shopping mood.
At the other end of the avenue, Lillian Hutson is also hoping more shoppers will show come Christmas after a slightly slower September and October – which are usually slow months in retail, Hutson says. Her beauty products business started as a home business, but now she relishes having a permanent studio space – her container doubles as a store and studio.
“I did the markets for years and I just finished up with my last one for the season – I’m going to continue doing them because I just love my markets. But this is amazing, setting up the tent and the rain and everything else, I’ve done it where I’m like, ‘I wonder if my hair will ever dry?’ So to have this space moving into the wintertime is amazing. I was doing this at home and had my little studio place at home, so the separation now is pretty cool.”
Both Hann and Hutson said the City of Langford has been easy to work with and were hopeful for more events in the future to attract people to Station Avenue.
“I think that’s how getting through things like COVID – how we do it is together. If you know your neighbors, and the more people you know, she makes the chocolate, she’s got the soap… we’re 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.