Some business owners at May and Victoria Streets are protesting a decision to move the Fort William Fall Street Festival off their block.

The Fort William Business Improvement Area [BIA] is holding this year's event along Brodie Street and at Paterson Park.

Silhouette Boutique owner Debra Baker said she'll miss out on the benefits of this year's street fair, which will now be held a block away.

“Normally they walk around and see a new business and they come in and then word of mouth gets out,” she said.

“It's not going to work out this time because people are going to be more in the park."

Baker, along with about a dozen business owners, held a press conference on the matter at the corner of May and Victoria Streets.

They said sales slow down in the summer time, and the street fair helps keep them going.

Fair offers 'great' exposure

Red Bicycle owner Lori Paras said business “has not been lucrative since I came down here last September.  So I was kind of looking forward to maybe making some real money that day and it looks like I'm not going to."

Serge Berube, owner of vacuum shop Electric Serge, said the fair is great exposure.

"[People] just see what's available for them and it boosts up the business for October, November, December and that,” he said.

Berube said he's already spent $400-$500 preparing his booth for this year — a booth he won't be able to set up.

He said moving the street fair away from his block will drive down traffic.

"It's like saying, 'let's move Bay and Algoma to Secord and Machar.'" 

The business owners say they want to know how the decision was made to exclude their block from the fair, why they weren't invited to a meeting to discuss the issue, and whether their potential loss of income was considered in the decision to relocate the fair.

They also question whether quorum was in place when the BIA voted to move the event. 

In an effort to bring the event back to their block, the shopkeepers say they've signed a petition and requested a meeting with officials.

The BIA declined to comment on this story.