Small Independent Businesses Need Help from the Province

An article was written in the Vancouver Courier citing that “South Granville businesses are leaving en masse and scores of jobs hang in the balance”. The article suggests that high property taxes, labour costs and leases are forcing independent businesses out of the neighbourhood.

While the Vancouver Courier writer does a thorough job of describing the myriad factors contributing to the challenges these businesses face, the story unfortunately, is not unique to South Granville. Vancouver businesses, throughout the city are being impacted by high property taxes, rising labour costs, and high lease rates. How is this any different than any other time doing business is in that it’s at the tipping point. Businesses that provided the unique flavour of our neighbourhoods, independent and chain, are all struggling to some degree. The city is working to understand the dire circumstances of Vancouver Businesses, but what we really need is the Provincial Government to implement the split commercial assessment tool, and to more fairly split the tax burden between residential and commercial properties.

The arduous permitting process drives up the cost of residential and commercial developments thus making them more and more unaffordable and exacerbating the situation. There is much to be done. Thankfully, we still have an amazing collection of businesses, a wonderful retail mix, a clean and safe public domain, and opportunities galore coming down the pike from the Broadway Subway and the Bridge Connector.

A once-in-a-generation bloodletting is killing small, independent business in one of the city’s marquee commercial districts, leaving dozens of Vancouverites without a job before year’s end. 

Bound by the area spanning West Sixth to West 16th avenues, the South Granville shopping district is seeing a massive exodus. In the last month alone, the Ouisi Bistro, West Restaurant and women’s clothing store Plum announced closures.

The Ouisi closes Oct. 26, Plum is done at month’s end and West will close on New Year’s Eve.

That’s 65 years’ worth of neighbourhood business gone. Plum and the Ouisi are owned by Vancouverites and staff dozens who live in the city as well.

“I don’t think I’d recommend my daughters to go and become entrepreneurs, at least in this city,” Plum co-owner Ed Des Roches told the Courier. “In small business, things change so fast and there’s so much disruption nowadays that it’s impossible to enter into an enterprise thinking that this is what you’re going to do to support your family.”

The Courier counted 25 for-lease signs along a 10-block span on Granville Street and spoke to numerous business owners.