Ann and Claire Cooper are from Blaine, Wash., and decided to check out Boxing Day shopping in Langley. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Ann and Claire Cooper are from Blaine, Wash., and decided to check out Boxing Day shopping in Langley. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Boxing Day crowds out and about in Langley

With Canadians adopting Black Friday and more online sales, fewer people venture out to local stores

Boxing Day in Langley isn’t the mad rush of people elbowing others out of the way for deals like it was in the past.

Now many people start their Boxing Day shopping at home in front of a computer or smartphone and sometimes before Dec. 25 is even over. That’s translating to less foot traffic for bricks and mortar stores on Dec. 26.

“Initially some regulars came in, and it’s been okay,” said Chris Sobie, owner of C & R Hobbies and Crafts.

It’s one of the few businesses on the one-way stretch of Fraser Highway that’s open for Boxing Day.

He said the store has opened for Dec. 26 for its 17 years in operation but noted that the shoppers just aren’t coming through the doors like they used to.

He said holiday sales are critical for the small business, accounting for about 40 per cent of the year’s tally and sales are down significantly in recent years.

As well, technology is impacting sales in bricks and mortar stores.

“They take their phones out,” Sobie said of customers. “They all take pictures of products.”

Some take photos to send to others when checking on a make or model while others use it as a resource to then go hunting online for cheaper prices.

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Shoppers Ann and Claire Cooper are part of another trend – Americans coming north to shop. With a stronger dollar and some brands closer for people like the Blaine, Wash., mother and daughter, they decided to come to Langley. They came specifically for the Lulu Lemon products, noting the next nearest store for them is Seattle so Langley is much handier.

After finding bargains at Willowbrook Shopping Centre, they were interested in doing more hunting around. Ann heard about Boxing Day shopping a few years ago, noting that typically Americans spend Dec. 26 at home relaxing or starting to take down the Christmas tree. Boxing Day shopping was a new concept to Claire, but both said they will be back.

“Maybe next year we’ll do a little more planning,” Ann said.