NEW MINAS – Hundreds lining up to buy legal cannabis also meant hundreds of people were inside County Fair Mall in New Minas on Oct. 17.
Since the NSLC began selling legal cannabis, its store and the mall have seen a steady stream of customers walking through the halls, but what, if anything, that foot traffic means for stores and the mall is up for debate.
Elizabeth Engram, public relations manager for County Fair Mall owner Crombie REIT, confirmed the mall has not experienced an “uptake in leasing interest in County Fair Mall as a result of the NSLC selling cannabis from that location.”
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It is apparent that around 10 storefronts are empty with ‘For Lease’ signs in their windows at the mall. Engram did not confirm how many stores are currently up for lease, but said the company is “actively leasing the centre.”
In an email, Engram said there are “a number of reasons…attracting new business to any small community can be challenging for,” and that, “any additions, including the offering of a new product, may generate interest from other businesses.”
While all retail stores agreed there was a definite spike in foot traffic in the mall near the NSLC on Oct. 17, they diverged on how it’s affected them since.
Pseudio is located across the hall from the NSLC. Store manager Katelyn Ripley said they’ve seen “a definite increase in traffic” at the store, and assistant manager Candace Joudrey – who was on shift Oct. 17 – agreed and said the line awaiting legal cannabis stretched past their store at 9 a.m.
“It was absolutely crazy – lots of traffic, and just so many people,” said Joudrey.
Leah Dempsey and Charlene Davies both work at CHARM Diamond Centres. They saw the amount of people lined up in photos taken by their coworkers who were on shift.
Both agree that the NSLC selling cannabis could spell positive changes for foot traffic in the mall, but don’t think it means much for the jeweler.
“If we can get them in the door, especially coming up to Christmas – as long as we can get them in, this could be good news for the mall,” said Dempsey.
“This is a destination store – they’re coming to buy. They might make a little detour, but that’s it really,” said Davies.
Andrea Austen is the manager at the Great Canadian Dollar Store at the mall and said the store it among those that always has a steady flow of customers.
She doubts the new stock at NSLC will have much effect on the store’s business since already has a regular stream of customers.
“It doesn’t really have a bearing on this end of the mall,” she said.