Fredericton Sunday shopping change draws mixed reactions

A change to Fredericton's Sunday shopping bylaw is generating mixed reactions.

Some small stores can't afford or staff extended hours

A change in Fredericton's Sunday shopping bylaw is generating mixed reactions. 2:13

A change to Fredericton's Sunday shopping bylaw is generating mixed reactions.

Earlier this week, council voted to amend the bylaw to allow store owners to set their own hours.

Michel Semegen, of Canadian Tire, says it's a matter of consumer choice.

"We're going to be opening up early. And the reason for it is we're a community and the people that are working sort of eight to five, it gives them the opportunity to shop early and get their day going," he said.

Under the previous rules, retailers were limited to being open between noon and 5 p.m.

Some small business owners say they can't afford to stay open, or can't get staff for the extra hours.

Luke Randall says nothing will change for his downtown art and toy store, Endeavours & Think Play.

"If the larger stores or other independents wish to spend the money on payroll and they can find the people to work it, great," he said.

"But if our regular staff, who are knowledgeable and great at serving clients, aren't able to work our hours, there's really no point in being open."

Benefits unclear

Coun. Kate Rogers was the only councillor who voted against the change.

"I thought, 'What is this going to mean to sort of the culture in Fredericton in the long-term and the lifestyle and the quality of life in Fredericton in the long-term?'" she explained.

"We're such a wonderful city because of the quality of life that we have created here and that we promote, and I really, I honestly think that this will affect that, will impact that a little bit."

Meanwhile, Rogers said she saw no information proving the extended hours would help businesses in the city.

"What I have heard from a lot of retailers and from people that work within retail is no more money is going to be spent," she said. "It's going to be spread over the seven days."