OLDS — Local businesspeople say a production crew that is filming a TV series in Olds has been great for business and for raising the profile of the community.
For the past week or so, a production crew filming an HBO TV series has been working on 51st Street and in the alleys between 51st Street and 52nd Street.
Scenes for the series were scheduled to be shot tonight and tomorrow.
As a result, those alleys were blocked off and crews stood watch for several days as sets were constructed and a mural painted.
Several members of the crew could be spotted wearing rather visible name tags that said The Last Of Us.
Sometimes equipment blocked a portion of 51st Street, but signs were erected along the street pointing out that businesses were still open.
Jeremy Tookey of Olds Electric & lighting said his company was contracted to take signs down and re-install them after the shoot was completed.
Although that won’t create a massive boost for his business, Tookey said it’s good for the community.
“I would say that there will be a spike in the hotel and restaurants lines,” he wrote in an email.
Olds Sign Shop was hired to remove existing decals from businesses in the area of the shoot, create new ones for the filming, then remove them and replace them with decals for the existing businesses.
That’s a lot of vinyl.
Owner Derrald Ulry estimated that all that will have resulted in about 18 hours of work for his business, starting from May 21.
Ulry says he got a call about the work about two weeks before it began.
“They called me and asked me if I’d be interested and I said I would be. Then I met with the guy and went over everything. And then he sent me an email with the project that I had to do,” Ulry said in an interview.
He said representatives of the company were easy to work with.
“They were accommodating and they had everything explained quite well – what I had to do,” he said.
Ulry wasn’t star-struck, but intrigued by what he saw.
“It was interesting to watch them – how quickly they were able to transform the businesses that were being part of the show,” he said.
Olds & District Chamber of Commerce president Doug Rieberger agreed the shoot should be great for the Olds economy.
He admitted that creation of the sets and the movement of big machinery in and out of 51st Street and the alleys was “challenging” for some businesses and customers.
However, “they’re bringing in people and that the local businesses can support, so that’s going to be definitely a benefit,” Rieberger said. “I think overall, this can be a benefit to the community.”
A few local businesses also benefited from having their walls painted and a mural painted.
Rieberger said in the future, the fact a portion of the series was shot in Olds could be boost for the economy if -- as has happened elsewhere -- people come to see exactly where those scenes were shot.
"That would be bringing people from outside the community into the community and therefore being able to see some of the businesses we do have in the area and help showcase that,” Rieberger said.
“The other advantage is this might be just the start of being able to do a little more,” he added.
“We’ve got communities within Mountain View County where they have been doing scenes and that for television shows, movies – that sort of thing -- for a few years now and this might be a chance for Olds to tie into some of that economic advantage.”