Langford’s Station Avenue vendors upbeat about the future

Despite rain, wind and even snow in recent days, the Station Avenue supplier in Langford is optimistic about business in the coming months.

The Longford Station Cultural District reopened in May with the aim of creating a downtown community center by revitalizing the former station site where the E&N Railroad once operated, installing artist studios, commercial booths, a performance stage and food truck space.

Events draw crowds throughout the summer and fall, most recently the Halloween “Food Row” and the Food Truck Festival on October 29-30. The events help increase foot traffic, though some vendors don’t always have smooth business, according to Shayla Hann of Hannmade Designs, one of Station Avenue’s artisans.

“Summer is great – live music and weekend events attract more people. As time goes on, it’s kind of like a Friday night, when they have a beer truck here, it becomes a routine for people to come here. So they don’t Must be shopping, which is unfortunate. It’s like their hangout because they know they can get beer here,” she said.

“So we were a little bit nervous about the food truck festival because we thought, ‘Okay, okay, this is just another thing that people can come and hang out.’ But we didn’t know if they would be interested in shopping. But we were surprised What’s more, it was a very good day, a very good weekend.”

One of the things Hann would like to see is a campaign along Station Avenue to help all suppliers, which she said the city of Langford said they were aiming for in the future.

Overall, Hann said summer sales have been good and she hopes people will be in the mood to shop when Christmas rolls around.

At the other end of the avenue, Lillian Hutson is also hopeful that more shoppers will arrive at Christmas after a slight slowdown in September and October — typically a slow season for retail, Hutson said. Her beauty products business started out as a home-based business, but now she loves having a permanent studio space – her container doubles as a shop and studio.

“I’ve been doing markets for years and just finished the last one of the season – I’m going to keep doing these because I love my markets. But it’s been great, putting up tents and raining water and everything, I’ve done what I love where I’m like, ‘I wonder if my hair is going to dry out? So it’s been great to have this space into the winter months. I do it at home, where I have my little studio, so it’s cool to be separate now.”

Both Hann and Hutson said the city of Langford was easy to work with and hope to host more events in the future to draw people to Station Avenue.

“I think that’s how to get through something like Covid-19 — how we do it together. If you know your neighbor, and the more you know, she’s going to make chocolate, she’s going to get soap… We’re in Together we will be stronger.”

Station Avenue will be open throughout the winter, with vendors required to be open 5 hours a day Thursday through Sunday.

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Langford Small Business West Shore

Lilian Hutson said her shipping container on Station Avenue helped her move her former home-based business out of her house. (Belli Morton/News Staff)

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