Downtown Williams Lake BIA event co-ordinator Jasmine Alexander (left) and president Jazmyn Lyons are encouraging everyone to think about shopping early for Christmas this year. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

‘Beat the rush:’ Downtown Williams Lake BIA encourages early Christmas shopping

With COVID-19 precautions in place, things will look different this year

Downtown Williams Lake BIA is hoping shoppers will start thinking about Christmas early this year.

Calling the campaign, ‘Beat the Rush,’ DWLBIA president and business owner Jazmyn Lyons said they want people to realize that COVID-19 restrictions will impact Christmas shopping.

Retail stores are limited in how many people can be inside a building and Lyons said at her store she normally has 30 to 50 people at a time during the days leading up to Christmas, but with the restrictions the limit is 12.

“People are not going to wait outside in the snow and the slush and we are not the only ones facing this problem,” Lyons said, noting some stores are allowed less people at a time. “People are going to get mad, they are going to get irritated and we don’t blame them.”

Lyons said it’s the fourth quarter that makes the year for most businesses, and to lose that is going to be detrimental for local business.

“We really need people’s support and we need it now,” Lyons said.

Stores are trying to stock up and be ready early as distributors are finally catching up from the setback experienced at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I know some stores are still struggling a little bit, but it looks like things are finally getting back to normal in that sense,” Lyons said.

Read more: Downtown Williams Lake BIA launches business portrait project

Mailing parcels will also be something to try to do ahead of time, at least a month earlier than in other years, she noted, adding normally there are lineups at the post office and with less people allowed inside those lineups will be outside.

Jasmine Alexander, events co-ordinator with DWLBIA, said the idea of the campaign actually came from Lyons.

“At the BIA we saw that Jazmyn has started this social media initiative she called ‘beat the rush.’ We thought it was great and we — as our main goal is to support local businesses — said ‘hey, can we amplify this?”

It’s actually very simple, Alexander added.

“The main points are getting creative, and calling ahead and take advantage of local customer service that we see in our town. In my conversations with local business owners there is also a question of ‘can I put out my Christmas stuff now?.’”

Lyons said people in general don’t like seeing Christmas things before Remembrance Day.

“This is where a lot of us are a little touchy about the subject, but we are sorry and we have to get it out now.”

Alexander said with the pandemic it is an unprecedented season, globally and for Williams Lake.

Read more: Downtown Williams Lake arranges virtual cooking classes

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