Design district’s goal to direct shoppers from malls

Known as the city’s design district, SODO (South of Downtown) is comprised mostly of art galleries and furniture stores, and runs along 11 Ave S.W. between 5 St and 8 St S.W. GISELLE WEDEMIRE, The Press

Directing shoppers’ attentions from malls to local downtown businesses is the aim of entrepreneurs in Calgary’s design district.

Deborah Herringer Kiss, owner of the Herringer Kiss Gallery on 11 Avenue S.W., said that the district’s business owners have recently been focusing their efforts on promoting the area as a hub of activity.

“Calgary’s very much a mall city and we’re really trying to get people to come down and explore SODO – that’s our main initiative,” she said.

“A lot of people say that they didn’t know that this part of the city existed, and that’s why we’re trying to get the word out there that we’re here.”

The area has held three block parties to promote its businesses and generate local interest, with the most recent party in June. In the past, these parties were one-day events organized by SODO’s business owners and featured store-specific specials and promotions to entice customers who generally shop at franchise stores that dominate the city’s shopping malls.

“These events are always good at generating local interest, but they do need to be more regular because it’s about trying to work up that interest and keeping it up,” she said.

Herringer Kiss said while there are no firm plans as yet for an upcoming promotional event, herself and her fellow business owners in the district will continue to promote the area as a spot for “destination shopping that has a bit of everything.”

About Giselle Wedemire 5 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Giselle Wedemire worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.