Billboards To Lure Shoppers North
Winnipeg Advertises in North Dakota
FARGO, ND — You may have noticed billboards popping up, telling you to ‘Shop in Winnipeg.’
If you do, you might get more bang for your buck and it’s all because of the exchange rate.
Tourism is the third biggest industry in North Dakota, right behind the agriculture and oil industries.
Charley Johnson with the F-M Convention & Visitors Bureau says, “It’s basically people visiting, dropping their money and going home again so that’s nice. That’s why it’s important. It has a tremendous economic impact.”
Many Canadians contribute to North Dakota’s tourism rates by shopping in the state, but that is all changing.
The exchange rate is not in Canada’s favor. Each U.S. dollar is the equivalent to $1.25 in Canada.
They’ve been advertising more frequently on billboards, in newspapers and through T.V. commercials to attract more North Dakotans to Winnipeg.
“I don’t think they ever stopped advertising here either any more than we completely stop advertising there but I think they picked up the pace when they knew there was some opportunity for people to get more bang for their buck in Canada,” says Johnson.
Canadians contribute six to eight percent of the traffic at West Acres Mall during the regular season and 12-14 percent during the busy time of year.
West Acres Mall Manager Chris Heaton says, “We don’t think it’s going to have a negative impact on what we do here at West Acres. We try to be the location, the destination that provides people the best experience.”
Some say although Americans can save more money in Canada, they don’t know many people who actually take advantage of the deal.
While shopping at the mall, Katelyn Schrenk says, “I’ve never really heard of anyone going there to shop, even though it’d be really cool, something to try because there’s all different kinds of brands that they have. A lot different than around here.”
That’s why Schrenk says she’s willing to go shopping in Winnipeg, anytime.
She says, “I would definitely go there again. It seems like it has a lot cooler atmosphere in a way. A lot of different people you can meet and everyone’s not just the same like it kind of is around here.”
Winnipeg is the ninth largest city in Canada with a population of more than 600,000 people. The drive from Fargo to Winnipeg is 223 miles.