Things may look bleak now but there are ‘Sunny Days Ahead’

Outdoor vendors market on June 8 hopes to draw people to downtown Fergus

FERGUS – It’s scarcely a week into the road and infrastructure project and downtown Fergus businesses are already feeling the burn from construction on St. David Street North.

But there are “Sunny Days Ahead,” says a local businesswoman.

St. David Street (Highway 6) from St. Andrew Street to Garafraxa Street is closed to all traffic while the township tears up the road to replace watermains, sanitary sewers and other underground infrastructure.

Phase two will commence next year with similar work from Garafraxa to Edinburgh Avenue.

The township anticipates the project will be substantially complete by the end of 2025 with some finishing work – surface paving and landscaping – to be completed in 2026.

From her vantage point at the corner of St. David and St. Patrick streets, Jailena Williamson worried not just what will happen to her business, Violet and Ash Candle Company, but to all businesses in the downtown core.

“We have a digital sign on the corner, and it gets us traffic,” she said in a phone interview. “But that’s not going to help us this year.

“I understand the necessity of construction, but the reality is, it will affect business. So I thought about what we can control and what we can’t control and decided to pull this event together.

“I think of it as the kick-off to the summer.”

On June 8, from 10am to 2pm in the parking lot outside her store, Williamson will host the Sunny Days Ahead outdoor vendor market.

Vendors from Guelph, Rockwood and Waterloo will set up shop in the parking lot. There will be live music by Juneyt.

The weekend also marks the second anniversary of her store moving into retail space, where there will be in-store specials.

“I hope people can make their way downtown,” she added.

Williamson hosted a vendor market last October – her first – and said this one came up quickly.

“I had no intention of doing anything like this right now, but the reality of what construction is doing, I knew I had to do something,” she said.

“People like ease. If they have to go out of their way, that can deter them from doing anything at all. I hope this will help get some traffic back.”

For those thinking of attending, there is on-street parking on St. Andrew, St. Patrick, St. George and Hill streets and on Garafraxa Street East.

There are also municipal parking lots on St. George and St. Patrick streets and on Provost Lane.