Seasonal businesses see surge in tourists as summer gets underway

·2 min read
Candy at Flavour Mountain Candy Company. The store opened in June after two summers of being closed due to the pandemic. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
Candy at Flavour Mountain Candy Company. The store opened in June after two summers of being closed due to the pandemic. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

Seasonal storefronts in P.E.I. say this summer season is off to a much better start than the last two amid a tourism surge following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Downtown Charlottetown Farmers' Market returned to the city's Queen Street last week. Over the last two years, the outdoor market has been dealing with limited crowds due to COVID-19.

But some vendors are now saying that with said restrictions having been eased, things are starting to look up.

"Last year was pretty good, but we only had the tourists from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, basically," said Deborah Misner, who has sold her original watercolours at the market for the last four summers.

"This year we've got people all over and it's ripping. It's really good."

Misner said she's seen tourists from around the world over the weekend, and she's so far tripled her sales.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Sandra Sunil of 4S Catering said they've seen customers from B.C., Quebec as well as some from the U.S.

"We have seen a lot more people come out to show support. So it's great to have something like this finally happening," she said.

Kelsey McIsaac, who works for Red Island Cider, said there's a healthy mix of regular customers and new faces.

"You can tell that there's a lot of tourists here," she said. "It's great. We have a lot of people who have never even heard of us, or never tried our products."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

Busy at Borden

Businesses at the farmers' market are not the only ones benefiting from a return of tourists to the Island.

At Borden-Carleton, Flavour Mountain Candy Company opened up shop last month after two years of being closed during the pandemic.

General manager Rachel Adams said with limited tourism during the pandemic, she wouldn't have made any money at all.

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

"It's hard for me to compare it because we have been closed for the past couple of years," she said. "But even just seeing the amount of people around here and also the new businesses down here like Lone Oak and other places like that that have brought in more folks is really nice to see."

Adams said this weekend was especially busy because of tourists coming to and from the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.

Flavour Mountain will remain open until at least the end of August. The Downtown Charlottetown Farmers' Market will open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until late September.

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