Retailers roll out the red carpet for LRT riders
Businesses offering promotions, freebies to mark Confederation Line launch
Retailers along the Confederation Line are rolling out the red carpet for transit riders, offering promotions and incentives to take advantage of the extra foot traffic near the city's new light rail stations.
The east-west Confederation Line opens to the public Saturday afternoon, ending a wait of more than six years.
It's been a long time coming for many retailers who have had to endure years of construction, which at times hampered business.
Carrie Irvine, marketing director at St. Laurent Shopping Centre, said the mall's retailers and management are celebrating the launch this Saturday.
Opening day party
The mall, which is connected to the new St-Laurent LRT station, is hosting an opening day party with music, balloons and promotions.
We're hoping that people will stop and shop when they get off the train.- Carrie Irvine, St. Laurent Shopping Centre
"Just so when people come through they feel welcomed and excited to be here at St. Laurent," Irvine said.
"Of course, we're hoping that people will stop and shop when they get off the train. We're also giving away 100 free rides on the LRT."
Outside Parliament station in downtown Ottawa, staff at Voila Coiffure Salon and Mini Spa were busy lining up new staff and stocking up on supplies.
"We do have some new staff at the ready to get started as the demand increases with the foot traffic," Chantal Terpstra said.
"[We're] also looking at increasing our hours in order to be able to accommodate the new people coming through the building."
Terpstra said the salon is also working with its product supplier to come up with promotions to offer new clients.
Anxious for opening day
Down the line at Rideau station, businesses on nearby William Street are also anxiously awaiting the grand opening.
Bill Fullerton, manager of the Crazy Moose of Ottawa souvenir shop, said the LRT-related construction has made it difficult for businesses in the area, but he's looking at the big picture.
"The construction lasted obviously longer than we anticipated, but that being said you've got to look at the long term, which I think is very positive," Fullerton said.
John Le, owner of Amore Gelato, said he hopes the LRT will help bring new business, as well as making life a bit easier for his current customers.
"It's an advantage for sure because in the past a lot of my customers they come to me and they say it's so hard to find parking in the ByWard Market," Le said.