On a Wednesday afternoon in December, a customer browses Fort McMurray’s Popeye’s Supplements, the store to himself.
Owner Brad Malley is used to customers competing for his attention in a store stocked with protein bars and canisters of fitness powder.
“We’re not as busy as we have been in past years,” Malley said. “We don’t have the volume of people coming through the store.”
“We’re getting a lot [fewer] camp workers coming through.”
When oil prices crashed, Fort McMurray’s economy fell in a tailspin.
Now almost five years later, business leaders say the only good thing about an economy filled with bad news, is it’s unlikely to get any worse.
Fort McMurray has reached a period of stability and there’s some economic green shoots, said Bryce Kumka, Chamber of Commerce president.
The oilsands is no longer shedding jobs and most homes destroyed in the 2016 wildfire are getting closer to being rebuilt.