Breck Harris (left), a salesperson at housewarmings, with a customer Saturday afternoon. Harris said the store has been busy heading into Christmas. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Mixed results for downtown Red Deer stores this Christmas

Stores in downtown Red Deer have had mixed results this Christmas season.

Breck Harris, a salesperson at housewarmings, said plenty of customers have visited the store.

“I didn’t work here last year so I’m not sure how it compares to then, but it’s been busy,” said Harris. “November was a bit slower, but it’s really picked up in December.”

Harris said the store has tried to have sales every weekend to draw in customers.

Peggy Rafuse, owner of Imagine Vintage Wear, a relatively new addition to the downtown, said it has been busier this year than last.

“It’s been really good. The milder weather has helped bring people downtown,” said Rafuse. “Maybe the economy is picking up a little bit and people are looking for something a little different.”

This is the store’s second Christmas in Red Deer, after opening in 2016.

Don Edwards, owner of Country Cupboard, said it’s been steady heading into Christmas.

“We haven’t had too much time to compare it, but I think it’s about the same as last year,” he said.

Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, owner of Comforts the Sole, said the shoe and clothing store has seen moderate success moving into Christmas.

“I don’t think there are any surprises here – our busiest time is in the spring and summer,” said Watkinson-Zimmer.

Plenty of people do their shopping away from the downtown, she added.

“I wish the doors were banging open, but a lot of people are at the south end. I don’t know why because we have a lot downtown,” she said.

Comforts the Sole has been in Red Deer for 25 years.

Dwight Hickey, The Game Shop manager, said it hasn’t been a great holiday season for his store.

“This is probably the slowest Christmas I’ve ever had,” Hickey said, adding the store has been in Red Deer for 26 years.

People illegal downloading movies and TV shows is a reason people aren’t shopping at the used movie and video game store this Christmas, Hickey said.

The Game Shop put a half-price sale on movies and PlayStation 2 games to sell more items.

Hickey said the city needs to do something to draw people into the downtown.

“The downtown should be where it’s busy, not the south or north end of town. It seems like people are avoiding the downtown,” he said.

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Peggy Rafuse, owner of Imagine Vintage Wear, said the holiday season has been busier than last year. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

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