Summer 2019 was a very busy season for downtown Fernie businesses.
Patty Reedyk, owner of Polar Peak Books & Treasures, saw a significant uptick in customers.
“I just think Fernie is getting busier all the time,” she said. “We really are on the map now – we’ve been discovered.”
“It’s been really busy this year with lots of people coming in – lots of Americans this year,” Reedyk added. “The Canadian dollar is so poor, so people south of the border are coming up.”
Reedyk explained that tourism Fernie is doing a good job.
“Over the years we seem to be gradually getting busier every summer – it used to be that winter was busier,” she said. “We just celebrated 25 years.”
Bridget Brown, an employee with Big Bang Bagels, has seen customers lining up out the door and onto the sidewalk.
“This summer has been really good. We’ve had much more rain, which means less smoke and fewer fires,” she explained. “We’ve been able to see the mountains, so that relates to business.”
Brown said that Fernie is a destination for people around the world.
“We have people coming from Calgary, B.C., the Americans, and cyclists from the Tour Divide,” she said.
Yvonne Molle, owner of Odyssey Clothing, says fewer fires have translated into a busier summer.
“It’s been great to have less smoke,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of tourists though – Americans and people from the U.K.”
Molle added that a staffing shortage has effected her business.
“I’ve been short of help – I have been all summer,” she explained. “From what I hear, most people on 2 Ave. could use some extra part-time workers.”
Molle said that she is looking forward to fall.
“Maybe some of the young Europeans, people that come in to ski for the winter will be looking for work,” she said. “I usually haven’t hired people in the past for short term.”
Phil Gadd, owner of The Loaf, has seen robust business over the summer.
“Summers in Fernie keep getting busier and busier,” he said. “This summer, not only will it eclipse the winter, it’ll be significantly busier. July and August were 33 per cent busier than our busiest winter month.”
Gadd explained that Fernie is becoming more of a summer destination.
“We’ve just recruited two new chefs.”