Job cuts in oil patch slowing business in downtown Calgary

A steady stream of job cuts in the oil patch is hitting the bottom line of some downtown Calgary businesses.

Fewer people getting shoeshines and plenty of downtown parking spots for rent

Banker's Hall shoeshiner Michael Peters usually has 30 to 40 clients per day but now he's getting half that many customers.

If you're looking to rent a parking stall in downtown Calgary, there are plenty to choose from these days on Kijiji.

CBC traffic reporters have also noticed lighter volume in the core during rush hour. 

And fewer men in suits are taking care of their footwear.

"I had a gentleman here — he used to come by every week and I haven't seen him for a while. He told me he's doing a shoeshine because he's going for a new job interview, because he lost his job," said Michael Peters, who has a shoeshining business in Bankers Hall.

I actually think the job losses and the cutbacks are more than what the general public realizes.- Susan Kandalaft, owner of Executive Solutions 

In the last few months, Peters has lost half his customers. But he's not the only downtown Calgary business seeing less foot traffic. 

"Other businesses, I talk to restaurants, bars — they're feeling it too," said Unicorn Pub general manager Kevin Warner.

The popular Stephen Avenue watering hole is feeling the pinch from job losses in the oil patch.

"We're cutting some shifts, but we're still keeping our staff on. I just hope it turns around. We could use the business. I know downtown could," said Warner.

It's difficult to get a handle on the exact number of job losses in Calgary's oil and gas sector. Not all companies divulge their numbers and others are making their cuts in stages.

"Of course we're all hearing about job losses. We all know of somebody that's lost their job," said Susan Kandalaft, who owns the Calgary employment agency Executive Solutions.

"I actually think the job losses and the cutbacks are more than what the general public realizes," said Kandalaft.

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta lost 14,000 job in February. About half of them were in mining and oil and gas.

With files from the CBC's Allison Dempster