Main Street Shopping in Oakville Is A Two Way Street

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Fraser Damoff

Fraser Damoff

Fraser Damoff is a long time resident of Oakville. He is also a highly skilled energy sector professional with a specialization in the Ontario Green Energy sector. With a keen focus on aboriginal energy project financing, Fraser has been involved in financing agreements with Ontario First Nations all over the Province. He is also a dedicated volunteer and community activist who has been involved with the Kerr Street Mission, the Terry Fox Run and the Oakville United Way.

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I consider the Damoff family quite lucky to live in the best Town in Canada and in the heart of Kerr Village where local coffee shops and restaurants are on almost every corner.

Living in one of Oakville’s three local shopping districts (known as Business Improvement Areas or BIAs) whether it be Downtown Oakville, Kerr Village or Bronte Village provides a certain charm that is infectious and exciting.

On weekends, my fiancé and I love “walking the strip” in either Downtown Oakville or on Kerr to explore the shops and see what new gems we can find that have been hiding under our noses.

When we take the time to explore our neighbourhood, we become more connected with the local economic environment of our mini-economy in Oakville’s three BIAs.

Oakville has long been a bedroom community where residents commuting in to Toronto are lucky to be home before 5PM or 6PM.

For some of our local merchants, closing at 6PM on a weekday worked in the Oakville of yesterday, but today’s Oakville is very different.

Whether it is Bronte, Downtown Oakville, or Kerr, some of our local merchants are missing out on a diverse and new group of Oakville shoppers because their businesses close for the night, before Oakville residents are even home from work.

According to renowned small business marketing expert Roger Brooks, 70% of all consumer retail spending takes place after 6:00PM, and female shoppers account for 80% of all consumer spending.

Now let’s look at Oakville’s through these lenses.

According to the most recent data available through Statistics Canada, over 60% of women in Oakville over the age of 15 are employed. For men, that number is at 70%.

That means that only around 30% – 40% of Oakville men and women are able to shop the local merchants during their core operating hours.

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The working and commuting women and men of Oakville have the potential to be a massive boom for our local businesses, but these businesses have to be open for this boom to happen.

Catering a local business operating hours to the 30% – 40%, instead of the majority, is not the way to grow our local shopping districts.

Downtown Oakville, Bronte and Kerr Village have the “main street” appeal, but now we need to embrace the Oakville of today and adapt our local business models to meet the requirements of the new Oakville resident.

One only needs to look to Toronto’s Bloor Street to see the benefits of catering business operating hours to the shoppers in the area.

Capturing this massive market of Oakville shoppers will only happen if a coordinated effort is made to get the majority of our local merchants to stay open later.

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce and our local BIAs work incredibly hard to foster business growth in Oakville and with a continued, concentrated effort on this issue from the Town’s Economic Development Department, I believe many of Oakville’s Merchants would see incredible benefits.

Staying open later may seem like a small change, but it has the potential to yield huge profits for our local merchants.

If you haven’t visited one of Oakville’s three BIAs lately, I encourage you to do so this weekend and see what has been hiding right under your nose.

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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