Business leaders along Whyte Avenue are defending the areas economic viability, following the recent announcements of longtime stores going out of business.

Avenue Clothing announced its closure earlier this month after more than three decades on Whyte.

“Since we made this announcement, we have had customers coming in crying,” said Jane Herick with Avenue Clothing.

On Sunday it was revealed that the Chapters store is shutting down its iconic location on Whyte Ave, with a Winners reportedly taking over in its place in the coming months.

The string of recent store closures may be a signal to some that the trendy area may be suffering a slight downturn; however, the business community says it is doing fine.

“According to our 2018 economic indicators, our storefront vacancy rate is only six per cent,” said Sherie Klassen with the Old Strathcona Business Association. “Certainly the people that come down to Whyte Avenue are looking for a very different experience than they would downtown.”

The area’s city councillor agreed that Whyte Ave is still thriving, and believes with more residential developments popping up in the area, the future is bright for business on the strip.

“I think we’ll see a change with that and that’ll only be a change for the better,” said Ward 8 Councillor Ben Henderson.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Bill Fortier