Skip to main content

'We’re kind of losing money': Businesses share frustrations about Hespeler Village road closures for weekly event


A seasonal street closure in Cambridge is causing concern for some business owners.

Part of Hespeler Village is converted into a pedestrian-friendly space over the warmer months, but not everyone is loving the initiative. Some shop owners actually say it is hurting business and have started a petition to have the street barricade removed on weekends.

With cars blocked from his Queen Street East flower shop on weekends, business is not blooming the way owner Goran Radulovic would hope.

"We're kind of losing money for those times when the street is closed," Radulovic said.

People gather on Queen Street in Cambridge for Walk Queen on Aug. 4, 2023. (Hannah Schmidt/CTV Kitchener)

The weekly Walk Queen event barricades the street in Hespeler Village from Friday to Sunday to promote foot traffic, leaving Radulovic with some problems.

"It's making it really difficult for us to unload and load,” he said. “When we are doing deliveries, it's very hard to park anywhere to load the deliveries and a lot of companies don't want to deal with that kind of stuff."

Radulovic’s not alone, other businesses on the street say they've grown tired of the situation. They’ve started a petition to remove the barricades.

"You know, [clients] don't like to come here on a Saturday, especially when I do weddings they don't want to walk so far, they want parking right at the front door," said owner of Continental Hairstyling, Gabriella Martone.

"I won't come around here on the weekend it's too complicated," said Hespeler Village resident Mary Claire Bulman.

The weekly Walk Queen event barricades the street in Hespeler Village from Friday to Sunday to promote foot traffic. (Hannah Schmidt/CTV Kitchener)


The Walk Queen initiative was originally created at the beginning of the pandemic to bring the community together safety outdoors, but the Hespeler BIA decided to keep it going on weekends in the summer.

"We've done it again this year and our attendance is 30 per cent higher than it was so far for last year," said Chair of Hespeler Village BIA Cory de Villiers.

The BIA says Walk Queen is a way for the community, tourists and businesses to interact and support Hespeler's unique village district.

"They'll come and they'll hang out in the village on Friday, which they never had done previously before and it's really had a lot of our small businesses get discovered," said de Velliers.

The Hespeler Village BIA says Walk Queen has increased foot traffic in the area and helped small businesses get discovered. (Hannah Schmidt/CTV Kitchener)


In an email statement to CTV News, city staff confirmed the mayor met with both parties involved and the road closures remain in effect, with no planned changes.

The statement reads: “As we've done in the past, the city will be doing a survey following the Seasonal Road Closure program with businesses within the Hespeler Village BIA to gather feedback on this season. In past, the surveys have shown overwhelming support for the closures in both Downtown Cambridge and Hespeler Village areas.”


Denise Baker opened her second-hand clothing store in June and says she was excited to start up her business in the summer months. She says Walk Queen had made a positive impact on her business.

"The market is open, there's lots going on, all the shops are busy and it's great," Baker said.

Kindness in the Village CEO Denise Baker stand in front of her Hespeler Village store. (Hannah Schmidt/CTV Kitchener)

While she loves inviting locals and visitors into Hespeler Village, Baker says it could be more beneficial for other businesses if the street was closed off only one day of the weekend.

"So if they did a big thing like that every Friday, I think that would just in itself be really good for the community because that's what the BIA wants to promote," she said. Top Stories

Stay Connected