British Columbia

Independent shops counteract Tsawwassen Mills mega-mall with 'buy local' campaign

Independent retailers in south Delta, B.C., say a push to support local businesses has helped mitigate the impact of a new mega mall nearby.

Stores say Christmas shopping season wasn't as bad as they feared it could be

Independent shops near the Tsawwassen Mills mega-mall say their customers have stuck with them, and new ones are coming in too. (CBC)

Independent retailers in south Delta, B.C., say a push to support local businesses has helped mitigate the impact of a new mega mall nearby. 

"The whole 'shop local' thing really resonated with the people of Ladner," said Andrea Frustaci, head of the Ladner Business Association.

In the fall, some shops in the area said sales were down by as much as 50 per cent after the Tsawwassen Mills mall opened the month before.

"I think a lot of us were very afraid of the mall coming," said Ruth Scowcroft, owner of independent shop Albany Books in Tsawwassen.

The owner of Albany Books in Tsawwassen says her Christmas season was as busy as ever, despite a new mega-mall opening nearby. (CBC)

But now that the Christmas shopping rush has died down, retailers like Scowcroft are taking a look at how the season went — and many of them are saying it wasn't as bad as they had feared. 

"Actually I didn't notice any difference," Scowcroft said. "We had a very solid Christmas season. My customers supported us completely 100 per cent."

At South Delta Heels in Ladner, store owner Carol Miles also said sales over Christmas were good at her shop.

"For our customers, what they tell us is that they really appreciate the personalized service that they get here," Miles said.

Independent businesses in the area got together to run special events, Miles said, and brand themselves as local.

And now the business association say Ladner shops are even cashing in on the new shoppers as they head to and from Tsawwassen Mills.

With files from Stephanie Mercier.

Several hundred people lined up for the opening of the new Tsawwassen Mills mega-mall near the BC Ferries terminal this fall. (Farrah Merali/CBC)