PEI

How cold weather and icy sidewalks could be affecting Charlottetown businesses

A series of cold snaps and storm days on P.E.I. has some Islanders wondering if weather conditions are deterring people from getting out and spending money.

'It's probably our slowest February ever'

'It's been pretty brutal out there on the sidewalks for January and February,' says Jennifer Ridgway, owner of Moonsnail Soapworks in Charlottetown.

A series of cold snaps and storm days on P.E.I. has some Islanders wondering if weather conditions are deterring people from getting out and spending money.

"It's probably our slowest February ever," said Jennifer Ridgway, owner of Moonsnail Soapworks in Charlottetown. "January was kind of regular. It's always the slowest month of the year. But February has been pretty quiet just as far as people actually wandering the city and shopping."

Foot traffic

Owner Jennifer Ridgway said Charlottetown's Moonsnail Soapworks says her business relies on foot traffic to drive sales. (CBC)

Compared to February 2018, the business has seen a dip in sales by about 20 per cent, Ridgway said,

She attributes a large part of the drop in sales to a lack of foot traffic, which she believes could be a result of extreme cold and icy streets.

"It's been pretty brutal out there on the sidewalks for January and February," she said.

"I've seen winters before where we had a lot of snow and things like that where it did affect sales because it was hard to find parking and that kind of thing," Ridgway said.

Moonsnail Soapworks sells soap, candles and local artisan crafts. (Downtown Charlottetown Inc.)

Norton's Jewellers at Confederation Mall in Charlottetown has also seen a difference in how much Islanders have been shopping this winter.

"Definitely a little bit slower than normal," said Peter Norton. "But I think the cold weather has kept some people home.

Cold weather — people just get home and they hunker down and don't feel like going out.— Peter Norton

The business has had a slight dip in sales in January and February, which Norton, much like Ridgway, attributes to a lack of foot traffic.

"Cold weather — people just get home and they hunker down and don't feel like going out."

Local resident David Keenlyside said planning quick trips focused on groceries and daily necessities is key to winter shopping.

I don't mind the cold weather so much, it's really the slippery conditions if the roads and sidewalks aren't well plowed. — Helen Karistmanson

"I think you just generally stay closer to home," said Keenlyside. "And I think you maximize your efficiency on trips out."

While frosty temperatures might be keeping some Islanders at home, it's the icy streets and sidewalks keeping others from wandering about.

Spring and summer on the way

"I don't mind the cold weather so much, it's really the slippery conditions if the roads and sidewalks aren't well plowed then sometimes it's either hard to walk or to park your car downtown," said Islander Helen Karistmanson.

While winter hasn't been very kind, Ridgway said, she isn't worried. Spring and summer are on the way.

"As soon as the sun comes out and the temperatures go up everybody's spirits lift and they start wandering around and enjoying the downtown more," she said.

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