Downtown merchants make changes

Starting June 7, businesses will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday and most will maintain regular hours of at least 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Smithers downtown merchants have taken it upon themselves to improve the business climate.

Last week, the group met with Mayor and councillors, Tourism Smithers, the Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association and Smithers District Chamber of Commerce to discuss strategies for bringing more traffic into the downtown core.

One area where the Downtown Merchants Association has made some changes is to their member’s business hours.

Starting June 7, businesses will remain open until 8 p.m. on Friday nights and most will maintain regular hours of at least 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

At the meeting, a list of priorities was developed and members have been asked to determine their top three.

Some of the priorities discussed include developing a website, putting up billboards in other communities to promote shopping in Smithers and filming a video tour of the area.

DMA coordinator Kelly Ehalt said they also would like to develop a marketing plan to target people living between Prince Geroge and Prince Rupert.

“We believe there are many people that come to Smithers not just to enjoy the great outdoor activities but also come specifically for the unique boutique shopping Smithers has and takes pride in,” Ehalt said.

The organization represents almost 50 Smithers businesses, located between King and Queen streets and from Alfred Ave. to Highway 16.

Retail stores and service providers make up the group’s membership.

Also coming up for the DMA is the Main St. Festival June 15.

Activities will include entertainment, food, pony rides and a petting zoo and a sidewalk sale.