CARSTAIRS-DIDSBURY - Despite an Alberta economy that continues to stuggle, Didsbury and Carstairs both continue to do relatively well, according to town representatives.
In terms of business licences and permits, the Town of Carstairs' numbers remain close to last year.
Business licences were up from 249 in 2018 to 254 in 2019.
“We have had 23 new business licences this year and some businesses will be leaving in 2020,” said Cathy Lensen, planning and development administrator for the Town of Carstairs.
Building and development permits are up from 108 in 2018 to 110 in 2019, said Lensen.
Commercial permits doubled to four in 2019 compared with 2018.
“There were 39 new home starts in 2019, one up from 2018,” she said.
Darrah Selanders, president of the Carstairs and Community Chamber of Commerce, said in her conversations with local business owners she has been told things are looking up.
“Consumer confidence seems to be growing and while they are cautious with their spending, they are not ‘freezing’ their purchases like they had been for awhile,” said Selanders.
In Didsbury the number of business licences to date in 2019 is 389, down 10 from 2018, said Kris Pickett, development officer for the Town of Didsbury.
“We had 11 new businesses and seven new home occupations to date in 2019,” said Pickett. “We’ve also had 57 development permits issued to date.”
New businesses are down two from 2018, while home occupations are up one, he said. Meanwhile, development permits are down 20 from the previous year.
Pickett said despite the continued downturn in the Alberta economy, the town has stayed steady.
“Didsbury has managed to stay afloat and moving in the right direction,” he said. “With ground being broken in Shantz, it should get the ball rolling and start attracting new business opportunities and job growth for Didsbury.”
Brian Chita, president of the Didsbury & District Chamber of Commerce, said that overall business is below average in sales for most businesses but there are plenty of positive signs.
Chita said, “Three new businesses have started: Ana Tatooing, Cutting Edge Signs and Shattered Edge Hair Design. Another long-term business is expanding as well.”
Chita said the forecast is that the economy will turn around in the next year or so, but the wait in the meantime is difficult.
“In an effort to keep the upward trend going, the Provincial Cares grant, if awarded to us, will be instrumental in training current business owners as they require, as well as up and coming businesses,” he said. “It’s important to have a great business plan for a great startup, or to continue to the next level. Having every opportunity for success for our business community is pivotal for our economy.”