Businesses hope for boost during the Calgary Stampede

After a year-long hiatus, the Stampede is gearing up for a comeback and businesses are hoping for a badly-needed boost.

Brett Beninger, TB Salon Managing Partner, and his team are assembling last minute pieces to their Stampede tent at 270 - 14 Sve SE, which is right across the street from the grounds. For the next 10 days, they are welcoming patrons to enjoy music, drinks and barbeque.

“I was hit really hard with COVID-19 and just to be able to put this on for everybody and have a chance to bring some capital into the pockets of our staff is really exciting for us,” said Beninger.

In Mission, South Block Barbeque and Brewery just opened up a few days ago, right in time for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The owner, Jared Kichula, says the Stampede won’t be the same this year but they are looking forward to kicking it off.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a Stampede like we’ve ever seen before,” said Kichula.

“It’s going to be a very muted one but it’s getting some people out and that’s the benefit to this is that people are back out and some form of normalcy is going to come out of this.”

Kichula also owns Cardinale, which is located near the Stampede grounds, and says for 15 years they’ve been able to enjoy the economic boost from tourists and crowds during this time of year. He say this year they might see half the crowd.

REDUCED CAPACITY

Calgary Stampede officials announced capacity on the grounds this year will be reduced by half to make room for those in attendance and health and safety protocols such as sanitization and cleaning will be in place.

The Nashville North tent will require visitors to show proof of vaccination or take an on-site rapid test before entering the premises.

Dr. Anne Marie Dorland, Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University, says the Stampede is setting a precedent for other large-scale organizations to host events.

“The Stampede really is holding up a high standard for their engagement with their brand and I’m looking forward to seeing how they are setting the stage for other Canadian organizations and events to be starting some things we never tried before.”

Beninger is proud to be a part of the culture of Stampede again. He has hired 30 people to help operate the tent over the next ten days and is optimistic.

“We understand people are being cautious and don’t want to go and enjoy the stampede and we respect that but I do think there is a large percentage of people that have had enough of being at home and not being around other people and that’s really the main reason we created this,” he said.