Water Street businesses hope for profitable tourism season
Tourism in Carbonear growing, small business owners eager
The upcoming summer season is an exciting one for small businesses in the area, as Newfoundland sees more and more tourists each year.
Tourists visiting from various parts of the world often come for the scenery and unique culture, but as more small businesses pop up in communities, owners are finding the annual tourism season to be a profitable one.
Located on Water Street in Carbonear, the Rorke Store Museum has already seen its fair share of travelers despite only being open for a couple of weeks, and is expecting a busy summer.
The historic building, which houses the “Balancing the Scales” exhibit and showcases various objects from Newfoundland’s ties to the Labrador fishery and artifacts from the John Rorke and Sons mercantile premises, is hard to miss. The big red and white building sports an older architectural style not quite as common today.
Museum curator Florence Button says this helps attract tourists to the area who may not be familiar with Newfoundland, or are interested in learning more about its history. The ceiling is built using pieces of old fishing ships, and the floorboards have stories to tell before tourists even get beyond the entrance of the museum.
Button said that tourism in Carbonear has seen a significant increase over the past couple of years, and she attributes this to an increase in support for local and small businesses.
“It seems like now, more than ever, people are excited about small businesses in their local area,” said Button. “They really push the idea of supporting those businesses and helping them get off their feet, and because of that, I think we’re seeing more and more people opening up their own businesses. Especially here on Water Street. Not only is it good for tourism, but it boosts the local economy as well, and that’s always a great thing.”
Button added that Water Street’s historic look helps attract tourists, who she admits are likely not coming to Newfoundland for a big city feel and more likely visiting to get away
from such things, thus introducing themselves to the more rural feel of small-town Newfoundland.
“We get people come in here, as well as in our other exhibits, from all over. We get people from the US, Europe, and of course other parts of Canada, and almost every time they introduce themselves, they say something about how they love the feel and atmosphere of places like this,” Florence told The Compass. “I think it’s a breath of fresh air, especially for people who spend their lives in big cities, who never really get the chance to experience such rich culture like the town of Carbonear has.”
As was mentioned by Button, small businesses on Water Street in Carbonear are a common sight. Restaurants, art galleries, and shops, which tend to take over historical buildings, all dot the street.
One such business is Hot Line Café, a restaurant with a 1950s theme that opened earlier this year.
Pauline Yetman is the owner of the business, and she says the upcoming tourism season is something she’s looking forward to.
“It’s exciting, knowing that Water Street is such a popular place for tourists, and for good reason,” said Yetman. “Anyone who takes a walk down this street can see for themselves how lively it is, and I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.”
Yetman says business at her café, which occupies the former telephone exchange building, has been booming.
Yetman feels as though the 50s theme and unique vibe of the café is a major factor behind the its success thus far, noting that visitors to the café tend to break out into dance on the patio, backed by music from Elvis Presley and other popular artists of the era.
Yetman also explained that small businesses, especially on Water Street, tend to have a close relationship, and customers at one location will often be sent down the street to visit other popular destinations.
“I think everyone who runs a business here on Water Street is going to have a good season,” added Yetman, “because, you know, people come to places like Carbonear, or Harbour Grace, for the small-town Newfoundland experience, and that’s what they’re going to get here on Water Street. I’m looking forward to seeing where people come from and what stories they have to tell. This is going to be my first summer operating on Water Street, so I’m sure it’ll be lovely.”
Water Street in Carbonear is a popular destination for tourists, and business operators in the area say that the sense of family between business owners on the street adds to the welcoming feeling.
Hot Line Café takes pride in the back patio, with a view that owner Pauline Yetman says attracts tourists and locals alike.