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‘A Hail Mary’: Going Under Sale to counteract hardship of Salmon Arm underpass construction

Owners say project has changed customer habits on Lakeshore which will take work to remedy
The Salmon Arm Liquor Store on Lakeshore Drive says it is holding a ‘Going Under’ sale to try to generate business following losses incurred from construction of the Ross Street Underpass and accompanying road closures. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

In an attempt to not ‘go under,’ the Downtown Liquor store on Lakeshore Drive is holding a ‘Going Under Sale.’

“Since the Ross Street Underpass project started in November 2021, it has become increasingly difficult for us to meet our business needs,” said owner Gord Erickson. “The project closed our parking lot and turned the road in front of the store into a construction pit for most of the past year. Now limited parking and the reduction of Lakeshore Drive traffic to one-way makes it difficult for our customers to reach our doors.”

Tim Frazer, chief operating officer of Village West Developments, which owns properties including the liquor store and the water slides, said the store is not alone; others in the vicinity have also suffered.

Asked if the liquor store is actually going under, he replied: “We hope not. We’ve been struggling for 14 months and always thought things would be better. So this is a Hail Mary. We’d like to stay open until construction is done and things can return to normal. This is our effort to try and make that happen.”

The sale will begin on Friday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. and run through Saturday, Jan. 14 at 9 p.m.

Regarding the City of Salmon Arm and the contractor’s attempts to minimize traffic disruptions over the summer and at other times, he said the city has a job to do as far as overall improvement of Salmon Arm.

“The underpass project they think is a big part of that… I think it’s pretty unfortunate when small businesses have to carry the burden of no traffic, no parking and no access for such a long time.”

Frazer noted that consumer habits change when a road is shut down and people will get groceries somewhere else, their hair cut somewhere else and so on. When it becomes a habit, it’s not easy to change, he said.

He adds that even after construction is complete, it will take time, energy and money to increase traffic to the downtown.

Both he and Erickson emphasized how much they appreciate customers who have stuck with theirs and other stores despite the construction.

“We have customers who have been loyal, braving the mud pit, walking around the whole downtown from the parking lot to get to our store and the ones next to us. We have some super loyal customers that we appreciate and thank from the bottom of our hearts,” remarked Frazer.

They also added their appreciation for staff who have had to deal with a lot, including the difficulty of receiving deliveries. “I want to thank our customers who have stuck with us, found a way to reach our doors, and continued to support the Downtown Liquor Store, and our staff who are truly the heart and soul of the business,” said Erickson.

Read more: Salmon Arm businesses share challenges of being next to underpass construction site

Read more: Drivers adapt to changes in Downtown Salmon Arm for underpass construction

Read more: Ross Street Underpass in Salmon Arm to be completed in early 2023
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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