A ‘generational explosion’
Matt Savage, Owner Savage’s Bike Shop & President of Downtown Fredericton Inc., said there are about 17,000 people working in Fredericton’s downtown every day. He said 15 businesses opened last year in the city’s downtown, which will also see the construction of two new office buildings in 2019.
Despite the recent closures, Savage said the downtown is still growing, describing it as a “generational explosion.”
“You’re going to have closures; it’s inevitable,” he said, using the examples of Sears, Zellers and Blockbuster.
“All these businesses, they come and go,” he said. “A lot of them, they just outgrow themselves.”
The downtown bike shop has been around since 1897 and is considered the oldest bike shop in Canada.
Savage said he’s grateful to be part the growing bike industry and the business tries to adapt to changing products, technology and business trends.
And he’s always willing to try something at least once, like asking his dad in the early 2000s about starting a website for the bike shop.
“I approached my dad and said, ‘Do you mind if I start a website?'” said Savage. “He said, ‘That’s a fad don’t worry about it. I don’t want anything to do with it. You do it.'”
But the business also has its share of speed bumps, competing with big business and websites like Amazon that attract customers.
“They’ll shop and say, ‘Well, I’m buying it right now,'” he said. “These are the things you deal with in retail and you just smile and thank them very much and hope they come back.”
And even as Savage expands into the space previously occupied by the recently closed Bellboy Dry Cleaners, he said there’s always a risk for small business owners.
“Even when things are good, we’re always on thin ice,” he said.
“There’s that scramble. You’re skating along and it’s breaking up behind you and it’s freezing in front of you and you’re trying to stay in that sweet spot.”
Source: CBC News