Weekend shopping in downtown Trail could be a little merrier this holiday season.
The Trail Indoor Winter Market is a go from noon until 4 p.m. every Saturday until Christmas starting Dec. 6, confirmed Norm Casler, from the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce.
Local vendors who make it, bake it, and grow it are ready to fill up the new locale in the former Liquidation World store on Spokane Street now that all the fine details have been ironed out.
“We have hired a cleaning company to give it a once over and we expect about 35 vendors,
said Casler, the chamber’s executive director. “We will be doing some decorating and it should be more attractive for the Christmas season. Maybe it will lead to something in the future.”
Sabine Mann couldn’t be more delighted with the news about the change of venue and days the market will run.
Mann owns Women’s Journey to Fitness across the street from the large vacant premises, and she’s been advocating for something to happen in that space for a few years.
“The building takes such a big part of our block and has been empty for so long,” she said. “It’s finally being put to good use. There’s so much talent in this town and enough ideas and willingness that when people come together for things like this, something wonderful happens.”
She predicts that changing the markets to Saturdays will increase weekend foot traffic throughout the city’s core because the initiative is much more in line with supporting all downtown businesses.
“When it was held on Friday, there were so many working people who couldn’t make it,” Mann noted. “I think this is going to be a tremendous positive experience for all businesses and will bring everyone to this end of town.”
Another Spokane Street business that’s kitty-corner to the market’s new site also foresees more people walking through its doors once the winter markets launch.
“It’s a great location on the corner with ample parking,” said Grace Heine from Unforgettables & Ye Olde Flower Shoppe. “A lot of people work Monday to Friday and didn’t get a chance this past summer to get to the Friday markets on the esplanade. We anticipate an increase in traffic, drawing more people to this end of downtown Trail, and we look forward to serving new and existing customers.”
For two years, the Trail Indoor Markets were held three Fridays until mid-December inside the Trail Memorial Centre gym. The venture was a partnership between the city and the chamber.
Early this fall, Casler backed up about 25 downtown Trail businesses, who didn’t think that day or the location supported commerce in the city’s core.
He withdrew the chamber’s support from the existing market model and actively pursued what the businesses said all along – the market is good but the day and location needed a rethink.
Daniel Haley owner of Bay Street’s Casa Di Cioccolato, spoke on behalf of the business group reiterating that indoor markets on the east side of Victoria Street missed the point of the events, which were meant to attract people to the downtown. During what is traditionally the busiest shopping time of the year, he maintains that the locale deterred people from working their way into retail shops and eateries.
He’s changed his tune now that the chamber listened to its members and planned a different winter market venue.
“I do believe that shoppers from the Saturday Trail Indoor Market will take the opportunity with their families to have a look around the rest of of downtown Trail while they are here.”
He encourages people to walk through the city’s inner streets and check out how businesses are moving forward with small speciality stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
“This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to help kick off the Christmas seas and show we are truly moving in the right direction and creating foot traffic in a fun and attractive inner city.”