‘Say goodbye to 2023’: Winnipeg businesses help ring in the new year

People across Manitoba are ringing in the new year – whether they’re at home or out on the town. The celebration is prompting local businesses to gear up on one of their busiest nights of the year.

“It’s so important,” said George Andrews, owner of G.J. Andrews Food and Wine Shoppe. “You have to be there for your customers.”

Andrews said he takes pride in keeping his store open on Dec. 31 every year for nearly 37 years. This year, he said many of his customers are coming in to buy goods because they aren’t going out.

“They’re buying nice wines and champagne,” Andrews said. They’re buying lobster, crab legs, steaks and they’re just having a nice dinner at home.”

The head of the Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association (MRFA) Shaun Jeffrey said others celebrating at home may be doing so due to the high cost of living.

“It’s significantly more expensive to live these days,” said Jeffrey, adding that more people may be taking advantage of takeout and delivery. “But it definitely plays pretty heavily in our industry especially considering the status of our industry and its profitability right now.”

For those who are venturing out, Hargrave St. Market in downtown Winnipeg is hosting a New Year’s Eve event for the very first time.

“We really wanted to say goodbye to 2023 with a big party with all our friends,” said Academy Hospitality president Bobby Mottola. “So we’ve got three DJs, we’ve got a bunch of décor in the building, lots of great people, great food, great drinks.”

Mottola said hundreds of people are expected to attend the event.

“It’s nice to have a lot of people in the building so we’re excited about that,” he said.

The MRFA said restaurant goers have something to look for in 2024: the industry is expecting to do more for their buck.

“Implementing a lot of different things that maybe we haven’t done in the past just to get you back in the door,” Jeffrey said. “January, February, March are notoriously our slowest months of the year.”

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