Trish Scott of the Core Store is one of the Fort merchants looking ahead to their busy season. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Fort Langley is open for business

Challenges abound, but local merchants are looking forward to summer.

With spring and good weather, tourists will return to Fort Langley – at least, that’s the hope of local business owners.

Jasmine Marjanovic, owner of Cranberries Naturally, noted that business in early spring was not as good as it could have been. She said the weather more than likely had something to do with it.

To brighten up the Fort this year, Marjanovic has added a display of love balls to the front of her store. Created by her friend Wendy Watt, the balls are a kind of art that range widely in size and spread a simple message.

“When people come in, they see the word love, they just feel happier,” said Marjanovic.

She’s hoping that later this year she can host a get-together near her shop in Gasoline Alley, with a band and a relaxed community atmosphere.

Trish Scott of The Core Store has carved out a niche supplying sustainable clothing and high-end comfortable footwear.

A longtime Fort resident, she said there have been challenges of late, but some winters used to be worse.

“We used to die in the winter,” Scott said. “You could pretty much roll up the sidewalks.”

The new restaurants in town are helping, bringing in people year-round, Scott said.

She noted that things are getting back up and running, and the reason people like the Fort remains.

“People like the little eclectic shops,” she said.

People come down with a friend for a coffee, then poke through the local shops.

Issues remain, including a lack of parking, sometimes exacerbated by film crews on the streets, she said.

Leah Chevallier of Chuckling Duckling Farm is concerned about the boarded up buildings along Glover Road.

“I do think it’s hurting business, I think it’s discouraging people from coming out,” she said.

The Chuckling Duckling makes and sells natural soaps and bath bombs.

Chevallier is relying on local support and expanding the store’s offerings.

“We’ve really diversified our classes to get more people coming in,” said Chevallier.

They’re also talking to neighbouring businesses about teaming up for some special events.

And with better weather, she’s hoping the tourist traffic will pick up again.

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