Blog

  • 01 Dec 2020 by LOCO BC

    B.C. Buy Local Week (November 30–December 6, 2020) is an annual celebration of the unique contributions that B.C. businesses make to our economy. They strengthen the social fabric and donate to local causes. They provide great jobs, and support local service providers, keeping money circulating in the community. Consumers love local and B.C. Buy Local Week helps showcase B.C. local owned businesses, and B.C. local grown and local made products found in stores everywhere. Help us amplify the campaign. Share the graphics, tell us how you're local, and participate in our contest. Check out our partner contests in communities across B.C. (below).

    BC Buy Local Week Contests

    BC Buy Local Promote & Share Contest: Win one of ten $50 gift certificates from Support Local BCThe Local Gift Card or Island Comeback when you promote and share November 30th to December 6th. Share how you’re supporting local businesses this season, tag your favourite local businesses, and tag your friends to join the campaign.

    To enter:

    1. Sign up for LOCO’s mailing list. Go to LOCO BC’s homepage and enter your email under “Stay in Touch” towards the bottom. We don’t send many emails!
    2. Choose “BC Buy Local Updates”
    3. Tag your favourite business on our post (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) on Wednesday December 2nd, 2020.

    We’ll contact you via email and send you a gift certificate applicable to many businesses in your area. You must answer your email to collect your prize within 7 days or it will be reissued to another winner.

    Downtown Vancouver BIA: Check out “A Very #DowntownVan Holiday Giveaway!” The DVBIA is giving away 12 days of gifts (totaling over $5,000!) to 12 lucky winners.  Enter on instagram.

    Township of Langley Tourism: To celebrate Buy Local Week Nov 30 – Dec 6, we will be shining the spotlight on small local businesses in all 6 of our Township communities. We are grateful to all businesses for supporting and serving our community! Comment each day on Facebook and Instagram for the chance to win 1 of 2 Locally-Sourced Goodie Boxes each valued at $150 made possible by Tourism Langley and by PositiveEyedentities. Want to buy a Goodie Box? Visit tourism-langley.ca for details.

    Other Promotions

    Modo: Get $50 worth of drive time for new members from B.C.'s pioneering car sharing co-op. 

    Fresh Prep: Get 75% off your first week when you sign up for the 2-person + 2 recipe plan!

    Sunshine Coast Credit Union: Between November 30 and December 30, 2020, we invite you to enjoy a one-time $10 discount when you purchase a $50+ gift card* from a Sunshine Coast business through @supportlocal.bc website. Use Promo Code: ShopCoastalBankLocal

    Did we forget something? Let us know!

     

     


     

     

     

     

  • 19 Jun 2020 by LOCO BC

    LOCO BC released a report today that quantifies the cost of permit/license delays in the City of Vancouver. We found that for each permit/license, there is an economic cost to the business and the local economy of nearly three quarters of a million dollars. Download the report now

     

     

  • 10 Jun 2020 by LOCO BC

    It's time to end white supremacy. We all have a lot of work to do to address our own biases, and to work to end systemic racism in B.C. and the rest of Canada. I hope you're all doing your own personal work, integrating it into your business, and leveraging your privilege to upset entrenched systems.  

    CONSUMERS/BUYERS

    As consumers and businesses, we can use our spending to support the kind of world we want to live in. Please consider supporting businesses owned by black, indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) owners and the organizations that support them. Here are a few you might consider:  

    Black owned businesses across Canada: https://www.afrobiz.ca/

    Indigenous Business and Investment Council Directory: https://biz.bcibic.ca/

    KTunaxa Nation Kootenay Aboriginal Business Directory: http://www.ktunaxa.org/reports/2017-ktunaxa-nation-business-directory/

    Nuu-chah-nulth Nations Business Directory: 

    Squamish Nation Directory (kind of old): https://www.squamish.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SN_Small-Business-Directory2011_042413.pdf

    Metis Business Directory: https://metisbusiness.mnbc.ca/businesses

    STÓ:LŌ Nation Business Directory: https://www.stolobusinessassociation.ca/

    CAMSC certified Aboriginal and Minority-owned Suppliers. https://www.camsc.ca/certified-suppliers

    BUSINESSES

    In our organizations, we can work to eliminate bias and help end systemic racism. Here are some resources and consultants who can help you do it. Many more are out there - do your research, and ask around:

    Reconciliation Canada: Reconciliation Learning Experiences for Organizations. https://reconciliationcanada.ca/programs-initiatives/services-for-organizations/

    MOSAIC: Intercultural Competency Training. https://www.mosaicbc.org/services/workplace-training/intercultural-competency-training/

    AMMSA Diversity and Inclusion Training. https://www.amssa.org/programs/diversity/safe-harbour-respect-for-all/

    Qmmunity Queer Competency Training. https://qmunity.ca/learn/training/

  • 27 May 2020 by LOCO BC

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Buying gift cards to support local businesses in Metro Vancouver and Squamish now easier with new online platform

    VANCOUVER BC

    May 11, 2020

    Vancity, LOCO BC, and business organizations throughout the Lower Mainland are launching a program to promote the purchase of gift cards from local businesses in partnership with Support Local BC. 

    Support Local BC provides an online platform where customers can support their favourite local businesses by purchasing gift cards for future use. Support Local BC was first launched in Victoria this March by Think Local First in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s threat to businesses who have had to adjust operations or close their doors.

    The site launched initially with businesses from the Greater Victoria region and has currently sold more than $22,000 in gift cards for 172 businesses. With this partnership with Vancity and LOCO BC, the platform is expanding to include businesses through Metro Vancouver and in Squamish, and is expected to connect consumers to hundreds of local businesses. 

    The partnership between Support Local BC and LOCO BC, Vancity, Downtown Vancouver BIA, the Vancouver BIA Partnership, and Squamish Chamber of Commerce will cover payment processing fees to businesses throughout Metro Vancouver and in Squamish, so businesses in those communities can get the full amount of any gift cards purchased for their operations. 

    To join the platforms, businesses can sign up at no cost. The sign up process takes about two minutes to fill out the form and businesses will be added to the site quickly. Gift cards are available for purchase in $10, $25, $50 and $100 denominations. 

    Consumers can purchase gift cards by visiting supportlocalbc.com, choosing the community and business(es) they wish to purchase from and the gift card(s) will be emailed to the buyer directly. These gift cards do not expire and are non-refundable.

    LOCO BC is a non-profit organization building stronger communities with applied research of the policies and practices of a fair and just economy, contributing to a world where resilient communities are based on shared economic prosperity. They engage businesses and educate consumers on the importance of supporting independent businesses, research the challenges faced by independent businesses, advocate for reducing these barriers, and work to build bridges between businesses and policymakers.

     

    Quotes

    Amy Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of LOCO BC

    “People are looking for ways to use their spending to keep the businesses they love in their community alive. Local businesses need our help and support to survive these scary economic times, and this online gift card platform is giving businesses a chance to get some care and support from their customers who know how important they are to their local communities.” 

     

    Elizabeth Lougheed Green, Director of Community Investment at Vancity

    “Vancity is proud to partner with Support Local and LOCO BC to support local businesses across the province. These are very challenging times for small businesses and we hope the Support Local BC gift card program will help alleviate cashflow pressures for businesses as they navigate through the challenges of COVID-19. When the country gets through the worst of this pandemic, small businesses will play a significant role in helping to drive our economic recovery, and now is the time to support them.”

     

    Charles Gauthier, President & CEO, Downtown Vancouver BIA

    “Local businesses play a very important role in building community and a unique sense of place. The Support Local BC platform gives customers a new way to shop with their favourite local businesses, as well as discover other businesses that might become new favourites.”

     

    Tricia Barnes, Vancouver Business Improvement Area Partnership

    “The Vancouver BIA Partnership represents the 22 BIAs in the city and is excited about this opportunity to support the small business community in Vancouver. “ 

     

    Louise Walker, Executive Director, Squamish Chamber of Commerce

    “Squamish is a hub for small business, with a diverse range of boutiques, restaurants and activities, along with a strong craft and artisan scene. Support Local BC is a great way to support small businesses with cashflow during these challenging times, and presents a unique opportunity to get a taste of Squamish, from jewelry and artisan design, to craft beer and rock climbing. The Squamish Chamber is proud to continue our partnership with LOCO BC to support local businesses, and we are incredibly grateful to VanCity for their continued support of small businesses.”

     

    Media Contact

    Amy Robinson
    amy@locobc.com
    604) 351-1664‬

  • 24 Apr 2020 by Amy Robinson

    Here's a list of current operations offered by LOCO members during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • 30 Mar 2020 by LOCO BC

    We're compiling a list of initiatives and resources, and will continue to edit as things develop.

     

    Buying Local

    Local businesses need your dollars more than ever. Check out these sites on how to purchase from local stores and restaurants:

    Delivery from Local Businesses

    YVR Local Delivery is a list of businesses in many categories offering home delivery.

    Canadian Indie Bookstores identifies independent bookstores in your community, and across the country.

    Get Groceries is an initiative of Fat Cow & Oyster Bar (Langley) to deliver local produce, protein and prepared goods from local farmers and manufacturers.

    BeerVan offers craft brew, kombucha and ginger beer deliveries from Vancouver's local breweries. Delivery to Vancouver, Burnaby, New West & North Van.

    Delivery/Take Out from Local Restaurants & Food Producers

    Breaking Bread is a comprehensive list of food businesses offering take-out, delivery and more.

    Silver Lining let's you order meals or subscription meals from participating East Van restaurants including: BandidasDosankoJamjarKin Kao & Sopra Sotto

    Good to Grow online purchasing platform for local food producers. 

    BC Farmer's Markets is helping local farmer's markets to create an online purchasing platform. Stay tuned.

    Gift Card & Merch Purchasing for Gifts, Current/Future Use

    SupportLocalBC allows you to purchase gift cards from businesses in many areas of the Province for future use. 

    SupportYYJ allows you to purchase gift cards from businesses in Victoria for future use. 

    Buy Now Shop Later allows consumers to buy gift cards from businesses on the Sunshine Coast. 

    Vancouver Strong allows consumers to buy branded merchandise cards from their favourite local businesses to support them during the crisis. They also sell "Vancouver Strong" t-shirts in support of the Canadian Centre for Disease Control.  

    Business Resources

    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

    Government of Canada 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses. 

    BC's Reopening Plan Guidelines: BC COVID-19 Go Forward Strategy. Guidelines for re-opening in various sectors and Go Forward Management Checklist.

    FREE face masks for small businesses.  

    Webnames.ca is offering free 1-page websites for small businesses for one year.

    Vancity Community Portal provides a list of support programs for businesses and non-profits.

    The BC Economic Development Association has developed a COVID-19 guide for businesses.

    Small Business BC has launched a B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service to serve as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 1 833 254-4357 or email covid@smallbusinessbc.ca. Live chat is available on their dedicated website.

    Small Business BC has also launched an online marketplace for small businesses across B.C. to promote their goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The City of Vancouver has launched the COVID-19 Business Communications and Support Office to offer a single point of contact for Vancouver’s local business owners to:

    • Get information about business support programs
    • Learn what City services for businesses are currently up-and-running
    • Make suggestions to the City about business and the economy

    BC Hydro will waive fees for up to three months for affected small businesses. Application opens the week of April 13th. 

    Futurpreneur has a new support package that will cover loan payments for six months for each of its more than 3,200 Start-up Program clients whose Futurpreneur loan was disbursed prior to April 1, 2020. This loan payment coverage is effective March 25 through to September 24, 2020, and comes at a crucial time for thousands of young entrepreneurs across Canada whose small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to the six-month loan payment coverage, for existing eligible Futurpreneur clients who require extra working capital to help cover operating costs during this challenging period and do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account, Futurpreneur will offer a top-up loan of up to $10,000, interest-free, with one year of deferred repayment.

    Advocacy for Direct Support

    SaveSmallBusiness.ca links to some great articles, recommends three policy measures, asks that you share your story, and is collecting signatures on a petition for non-debt solutions for small business:

    1. Pause Rent April 1: Mandate the first $10,000 of commercial rent is waived for 3 months and give landlords the support they need to make it happen.
    2. Keep Our Staff Together: Increase the wage subsidy to 80%, so small businesses have staff when we’re ready to restart our economy.

    3. Defer Debt Obligations: Give us a breather from both principal and interest payments on all of our loans. Give our landlords the same support so they can waive our rent.

    Here's a great article that proposes deferred costs for small businesses in the short term, and a letter to MPs proposing direct support policy measures.

    Advertising

    The Tyee is offering small and local businesses free display advertising to businesses affected by the shutdowns, to encourage people to buy gift cards or somehow support local businesses. Here's some info on their audience and display advertising options.  If you are interested, please fill out this application. Once approved, they’ll be in touch via email to get ad creatives. They are offering one week of remnant advertising, 3 sizes of ads, and we'll run maximum 4 business' ads per week, to ensure people get a decent share of impressions.

    Facebook has launched a $100M small business grant program offering cash grants and ad credits to affected small businesses.

    Help Line

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has launched a COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre for members and non-members.

    Grants & Financing

    Facebook has launched a $100M small business grant program offering cash grants and ad credits to affected small businesses.

    The Business Development Bank of Canada offers financing options for businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • 29 Nov 2019 by LOCO BC

    Highlights

    • Independent businesses recirculate up to 4.6 times more revenue in the local economy than multinationals
    • Independent businesses recirculate up to $63 of every $100 in revenue in the local economy, compared to $14 for multinationals
    • Independent businesses produce up to 8.4 times more jobs/ft2 & up to 8.1 times more revenue/ft2 than multinationals
    • Independent businesses spend up to 31.4% of their revenue on B.C. products & services
    • Independent businesses donate up to 24 times more per dollar of revenue to local charities that multinationals
    • A 10% shift in B.C. consumer spending towards independent businesses would create 14,150 jobs & keep $4.3 billion in the B.C. economy

    In early 2019, LOCO BC commissioned Civic Economics to conduct a study to determine the local recirculation impact of consumer spending with locally owned businesses. We felt it was important to update and verify similar B.C. data produced by separate 2013 studies by LOCO BC and Civic Economics.

    This year we looked at the impact of brick and mortar retail stores and restaurants in three communities in the B.C.’s lower mainland to calculate the recirculation impact of local businesses located there, and compare it to the recirculation of similar multinational businesses. We worked with report sponsors: Buy Social Canada and Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), Newton Business Improvement Area in Newton, and the Township of Langley in Langley. The project was also supported by several business groups who assisted with outreach to businesses the Langley Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Langley BIA, Tourism Langley and BIAs in Gastown BIA and Strathcona.

    Download the full report.

  • 27 Sep 2019 by LOCO BC

    We're updating B.C.'s multiplier effects data, to demonstrate the economic benefit of independent businesses. Working with Civic Economics and communities across B.C., we'll demonstrate the recirculation of local spending. Our previous research shows that purchases made with local businesses circulate 2.6 times in the community, creating more jobs, supporting local suppliers and sending donations to local charities.     

    The Township of LangleyNewton BIA, Buy Social Canada and the Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES) (downtown eastside Vancouver area) have signed on as partners. 

    Our study will engage at least 10 restaurants and retailers in each study area to determine the recirculation of spending within B.C. by assessing the business' profits, payroll, purchasing and philanthropy. 

    Civic Economics (CE) has extensive experience in multiplier effect research, whose data have been quoted by well respected publications including The Economist and The New York Times. CE will collect business data and compare it with up-to-date recirculation data on multinational corporations, to determine the multiplier effect in B.C. Each community will also receive its own community report, and LOCO BC will conduct a deeper dive on the economic recirculation of businesses committed to local hiring and purchasing within Vancouver's downtown eastside (DTES). 

    If you're a business involved in the study, please fill out our survey. It gathers information on where your profits, payroll, purchasing, and philanthropy are directed. All data collected from individual businesses is completely confidential. We will only report information aggregated from each area, and B.C. as a whole. 

    Interested in becoming a partner community? Contact us immediately! There's not much time to gather data from retailers and restaurants before they get busy with holiday shopping. 

  • 06 May 2019 by LOCO BC

    Many of us will head out this week searching for the perfect gift or experience to show our Mums how much we care. On average, Canadians will spend $76 on gifts, or up to $184 on experiences like brunch, dinner, or spa days.(Source: Global News 2017) That's a lot of money circulating in the local economy!

    When you spend at a small or local business, or on locally grown or locally made products, that spending recirculates many times because those businesses hire more local workers, warehouse, transport and retail their products here, and support other local suppliers like banks, accountants, employee benefits providers, waste management companies and more. Local spending keeps 2.6 times the money in the economy! When you spend $100, $46 stays recirculating compared to $18 for big multinational chains. 

    Here are 4 ways you can Buy Local this Mother's Day:

    1. Shop in Store

    Visit your favourite storefronts and keep community shopping areas vibrant. 45 cents of $1 spent at local retailer stays in the community compared to 17 cents for chains.

    2. Buy local online & get local gift cards

    Support local businesses from the comfort of your home. 2 out of every 3 dollars spent online in Canada goes to a U.S. multinational. You can buy B.C. when you buy online. Many local businesses offer online shopping with in-store pick-up or delivery. You can also buy B.C. when you buy gift cards from local stores & restaurants; many offer electronic delivery.

    3. Eat & Drink Local

    Choose local ingredients for Mother's Day meals & dine at local restaurants. 40% of B.C. farms are small / 65 cents of $1 spent at local restaurants stays in the community compared to 30 cents for chains. Choose local wine, beer, cider & spirits. Local brewers provide 1 out of every 100 jobs in Canada & contributes $6B in tax revenue. 

    4. Buy Local Made

    Support talented BC artists, makers and manufacturers. B.C. has 1800 food/beverage & 600 apparel companies, and manufacturing is B.C.'s 7th largest employer. 

    Check out some of BC's best businesses and shift your shopping this Mother's Day, and please share our graphic below.

  • 19 Feb 2019 by Amy Robinson

    In January 2018, then-City of Vancouver Councilor George Affleck passed a motion to review small business policies and programs, and create a high-level "Small Business Policy Council" to advise City Council on strategic priorities relating to small business. One year later, today the City of Vancouver gathered a number of businesses and some representatives of businesses (BIAs, LOCO BC, Women's Enterprise Centre) on a Small Business Roundtable, to discuss key challenges, to hear what the City could be doing to support small business, and to provide updates on current small business support at the City. The Mayor was in attendance for the beginning of the event, and there was an impressive group of City staff at the event, including the heads of most pertinent departments. Attendees were split into discussion tables, and we discussed key challenges, and ideas on what the City can do as part of new or existing initiatives. 

    Challenges

    For our table taxation was the #1 issue, followed by the impact (decreased foot traffic or displacement) on business of development and infrastructure upgrades. Permit wait times, finding and retaining qualified employees and difficulty in financing growth were also discussed.       

    Support Ideas

    The main themes discussed related to permitting/licensing/inspection, taxation and the availability of space.

    Lowering the commercial tax rate to reduce the tax burden on small business was one of the main ideas discussed at our table. We also discussed rethinking where density is located in City plans, to decrease the amount of increased value and resultant displacement of commercial businesses. Finally, many businesses felt that City processes were inflexible and didn't reflect or respond well to a quickly changing economy. They felt the City should align its processes to be more flexible and responsive to co-location, new business types, allowing multiple uses like office, light manufacturing and retail all in the same space, etc. Lastly, our group felt that there should be some accountability at the City for the level of service for cost of business services. We discussed having some goals set for time limits on permits, licensing and other standard approvals. Other tables had the following ideas:

    • Provide real support for business - show pro-business in action with improved process, aligned regulations
    • Implement a cap on commercial property tax increases imposed by the City
    • Eliminate double checking by the City of professionals required on approvals to open a business (e.g. architects, engineers, etc.) 
    • Allow temporary use for small business on vacant City properties undergoing rezoning and development (e.g. Little Mountain)
    • Simplify regulations, use flexible definitions
    • Streamline City processes, improve regulatory clarity

    Next Steps

    The City says that it will produce a report from the Roundtable, which it will provide back to participants, and to Council. It sought participants interest in getting together again in 6 months or so to discuss outcomes.

  • 18 Dec 2018 by LOCO BC

    Today (December 18th) the City of Vancouver's new City Council will vote on the 2019 budget. Most Councilors are new and have not been involved in the development of the budget. Many of them also attended our October 2018 event and promised to help overcome their biggest challenges, including the unfair property tax burden - businesses pay about 5 times the property taxes that residents do. They also shoulder 45% of the property tax burden while receiving only 23% of the services, essentially subsidizing the residential tax base. Businesses tell us that rapidly increasing property taxes is one of their biggest challenges. The tax burden is putting many commercial businesses under severe financial pressure. Many have already closed due to rising taxes.

    Before the election Mayor Kennedy Stewart promised to address the issues faced by small businesses, including taxation.The budget vote is the first opportunity for mayor and council to show their support for small and local businesses. On December 11 LOCO BC and many of the City of Vancouver's Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and representatives from BIA BC attended the City Council meeting to request a 2% shift in property taxes from commercial to residential properties. Many businesses are struggling under the burden of property tax increases, especially in areas where neighbourhood plans or zoning allow for increased density. Even the province of B.C. is starting to acknowledge that when commercial properties are taxed at their "highest and best use" rather than their current use, it impacts businesses and employment. Our blog post on the government's amendment to the B.C. Assessment Act has more information on the issue. Although the amendment will only apply to Class 4 businesses (heavy industry), the province has begun some consultation on how it and local governments might address the issue for Class 5 and 6 properties (light industrial, commercial). 

    If the City of Vancouver accepts a 2% shift, it would be re-implementing a shift that occurred from 2008-2012, at the rate of 1% per year. At the time that shift was brought in to reduce commercial tax rates to bring them closer to what is found in other jurisdictions across Canada. It has been estimated that a 2% shift would be approximately $80 per year on a residential property assessed at $1.5M. Today we call on the City of Vancouver to implement a property tax shift to show a gesture of goodwill towards small and local businesses, and keep an election promise to support small business made by both mayor and many Councilors ahead of the election. 

    *Thanks to Vancouver's BIA Partnership for some of the statistics reported here. 

  • 29 Nov 2018 by LOCO BC

    BCBUYLOCALWEEKLOGO.2016.png

    7th Annual BC Buy Local week highlights affordability challenges faced by local businesses, encourages shoppers to spend money in their communities

    (December 3, 2018 – Vancouver, BC) The seventh annual Buy Local Week in BC kicks off today to encourage consumers to do their holiday shopping in locally owned businesses, highlighting the affordability challenges faced by local business in finding staff and affording space and taxes.

    “The growing lack of affordability has had a big impact on local businesses, so it’s more important than ever that shoppers think about buying locally as the holiday shopping season ramps up,” says Amy Robinson, founder and executive director of LOCO BC, which coordinates Buy Local Week in the province. “With high housing costs, local businesses are finding it harder to find and keep staff. They’re also hit with rising property taxes. Buy Local Week encourages BC consumers to shop locally, because every dollar spent locally keeps 45 cents in the community, creating 2.6 times the economic impact.”

    BC Buy Local Week 2018 runs from December 3rd to 9th and is a partnership of leading BC municipalities, business groups and businesses across the province. Buy Local Week has been proclaimed by the Province of BC and is being celebrated in communities across BC, including the Township of Langley, Newton, Surrey, Burnaby, Port Moody, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Bowen Island, Squamish, Pemberton, Sidney, Comox Valley, Kelowna, Northern BC, and the District of Wells.

    “Local businesses are the core of our communities, and we are working hard to help them thrive,” said George Chow, Minister of State for Trade. “Celebrating B.C. Buy Local Week is important because it recognizes the achievements of local business owners who are creating thousands of jobs for people throughout B.C. and contributing significantly to our economy.”

    “In an era of increasing challenges to small businesses, we got involved in Buy Local Week to show solidarity on the challenges they are facing, and highlight their importance to our economy and community,” says Charles Gauthier, President & CEO, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area (DVBIA).  “Despite the challenges facing small businesses, we are still seeing new and innovative enterprises throughout the city. The Downtown Vancouver BIA is committed to making downtown a place where local businesses can thrive.”

    LOCO BC also today released the results of its annual survey of independent businesses, highlighting the increasing challenges of affordability.

    “Six of the top eight challenges for independent businesses are related to the high cost of running a business-labour, property taxes, supplier pricing, and payment processing are among them,” says Robinson. “The challenge - availability of labour - is related to the lack of affordable housing in many areas. Consumers should understand that businesses need their support more than ever, and governments need to act quickly to lower taxes and eliminate red tape.”

    As part of the Buy Local campaign, participating local BC businesses will be promoting their local owned businesses, local grown and local made products with bright pink stickers online and in-store to make them easy for consumers to identify, and using the hashtag #BCBuyLocal on social media. Consumers are encouraged to share photos of their favourite local products and businesses on social media, and look to bcbuylocal.com as a resource for BC products and businesses and holiday shopping events.

    For more information about BC Buy Local, visit www.bcbuylocal.com.  

    About LOCO BC

    LOCO BC is a non-profit organization building stronger communities with applied research of the policies and practices of a fair and just economy, contributing to a world where resilient communities are based on shared economic prosperity. They engage businesses and educate consumers on the importance of supporting independent businesses, research the challenges faced by independent businesses, advocate for reducing these barriers, and work to build bridges between businesses and policymakers.   
     

    -30-

     

    Media contact:

    Carla Shore
    C-Shore Communications Inc.
    P: 604-329-0975
    carla@cshore.ca

  • 19 Oct 2018 by Amy Robinson

    It's Small Business Week across the country. In B.C,  small businesses represent 98% of businesses (<50 employees), 84% with less than 5 employees. Barely a day goes by without the closures of longstanding small retail businesses in cities across B.C. Many are blamed on the shake up in the retail sector. However many businesses cite strong sales, but blame their demise on drastic increases in property taxes as a result of increased assessments and neighbourhood planning. When neighbourhood plans allow for increased density, existing properties are no longer taxed based on the current use of the property, but at their 'highest and best' use. Many stores, restaurants and service providers are currently located in a small commercial spaces with little residential development above. If the area is rezoned to allow development for several more floors of development in the area, the building is then taxed as if the building were already built. Those taxes are most often passed down to commercial tenants in 'triple net' leases that include rent, maintenance fees and property taxes. To add to the burden of taxes, cities like Vancouver tax businesses at approximately 5 times the rate for residential properties, and yet, until the buildings are redeveloped and there is clarity on whether the unbuilt space will be developed as residential or commercial units, the unbuilt space is taxed at the much higher commercial rate. The burden of business taxes and the system of assessment has forced many small business closures in recent years, as their property taxes double, triple and quadruple overnight.

    There is no data on the number of commercial businesses that have closed in recent years. However, judging by the number of media stories, and the closure of Dover Arms Pub, Wonderbucks, Just Cruisin', Chocolate Mousse, just to name a few, it is dozens of businesses representing hundreds of lost jobs in the City of Vancouver alone. There has been no government action on the closure of small retail, restaurant and service businesses. However, the B.C. Government has recently proposed an amendment to the B.C. Assessment Act that would alleviate the burden of taxes on affected heavy industrial businesses. The proposed amendment would allow them to continue to be taxed at the current form of development rather than their highest and best use. Selena Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing proposed Bill 42 Assessment Amendment Act (media release October 15, 2018) to "authorize B.C. Assessment to continue assessing qualifying properties based on their current industrial use rather than their future highest and best use for a period of two years with the option for extension" with the goal of providing "significant property tax savings prior to re-development and support the continued operation of the facility." The legislation would only apply to class 4 businesses - properties like saw mills, mines, smelters, large manufacturers, etc. The Ministry states that it is aware of "at least one facility that employs dozens of personnel that is facing a several-fold increase in property taxes as result of the discrepancy between valuation and classification — an increase that would put these very important jobs at risk." 

    It seems odd that the B.C. government is not proposing to include class 5 (light industrial) and class 6 (commercial) businesses in this amendment. It claims to be basing the amendment on the potential threat to a single business while ignoring many others in class 5 and 6 that have closed or are threatened. And the argument that these business closures have far-reaching impacts on communities beyond them doesn't hold water when you consider how many local jobs and suppliers are impacted when commercial or light industrial businesses close. All their inventory and service suppliers are heavily impacted - from the growers and ranchers they buy from, to the local artists, crafters and manufacturers they stock, to the banks/credit unions, accounting firms, insurance companies, office supply and other service providers they use. LOCO BC has been measuring the economic impact of local businesses for many years and publishing these impacts here (studies) and here (business impact measurement). If the government is going to provide this benefit to heavy industries in the province, it should also extend the benefit to include class 5 and 6 businesses. The government's own data shows that there are about 50 000 jobs in the forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas sector, but 300 000 in retail and another 200 000 in accommodation and food services. It is unreasonable that the government would extend this amendment to class 4 businesses but not other classes of business who have been severely affected by drastic property tax increases in recent years. 

  • 13 Feb 2018 by Amy Robinson

    Each year LOCO BC conducts a survey of independent business in B.C. We measure the impact of buy local campaigns (ours and other community-focused campaigns), and the impact of B.C. Buy Local Week in the Province. We also survey businesses on their biggest challenges and concerns.

    2017 BC Buy Local Campaign Survey Results

      In 2017 businesses reported that buy local campaigns continued to raise public awareness, positively impacted customer attraction, retention and foot traffic, and that B.C. Buy Local Week had a direct, positive impact on sales. 

    2016 Holiday Sales Compared to 2015

    Many businesses (about half) also reported that holiday sales for the 2016 season (November-December) were up from the previous holiday season.

     

    Businesses reported that some of their top challenges are:

    1. Struggling Customer Base: The customer base served by businesses is struggling financially.
    2. Labour: A shortage of qualified employees, increasing wages and high costs associated with employee benefits programs.
    3. Rise of Online Shopping: Competition from internet retailers, competition from large brick and mortar chains, and that competitors receive better pricing and terms.
    4. Marketing: Can’t afford effective marketing, and unclear of effective marketing strategy.
    5. Shortage of Affordable Commercial Space: Rising property taxes increased lease costs, and leasing agents sometimes prefer to lease to Multinational Corporations (chain stores), leaving less space available to independent businesses.

    We've just launched our 2018 survey. If you're an independent business in B.C., please participate now.

  • 09 Feb 2018 by LOCO BC

    Will Alberta's move to restrict the sale of B.C. wine increase awareness of the need to support local wineries? 

    Alberta premiere Rachel Notley recently moved to restrict the sale of B.C. wines in response to B.C. premier John Horgan's order of additional reviews that will likely delay construction of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

    In response, a viral campaign to support B.C. wineries has started, using the hashtags #ToastTheCoast #PinotNotPipelines #BCWinePledge and #BuyBCWine. 

    In what's shaping up to be the best protest ever, the CBC recently reported consumers including Andrew Weaver purchasing B.C. wine to support local producers in the face of decreased sales from Alberta. People across the country are jumping in to show their support, with consumers in Ontario and Quebec are emptying the shelves of B.C. wine. 

    Let's all support B.C. wineries and #ToastTheCoast!

  • 09 Jan 2018 by LOCO BC

    Three great jobs from LOCO members to start the new year!

    Modo is hiring a Call Centre Manager

    Lunapads is hiring a Bookeeping & Office Coordinator.

    Fairware is hiring an Sales Account Manager

  • 05 Dec 2017 by Amy Robinson

    LOCO BC has been working in partnership with Heritage Vancouver, Youth Collaborative for Chinatown (June Chow) & Modus on a study of the possible tools/programs to protect heritage businesses in Chinatown. 

    This Friday, December 9th, there is a forum organized by the City of Vancouver (CoV), where LOCO and others will present. Please join us, and give your input on this important issue. The forum is free of charge and translation is available. Register here.

    Here's some background on the project from the CoV:

    We are studying the importance of legacy businesses to people in Vancouver. Legacy businesses are stores that a community cherishes because of their:

    • Connection to history
    • Contribution to neighbourhood character
    • Integral role in the community's way of life

    These are a key part of our city's economy, and our daily lives. These shops and services can greatly affect how we experience our neighbourhoods.

    We will use your feedback to consider what types of strategies might best support these businesses so they can continue to be a vital part of all neighbourhoods. The findings of our study will be relevant to neighbourhoods across Vancouver.

    We are in the beginning stages of exploring what the strategy might entail. This study has an initial focus on Vancouver's historic Chinatown, where we have heard these issues are most pressing.

     

    Community Forum: At this event, an opening presentation will share draft qualities for legacy businesses in Chinatown, with a facilitated discussion to follow. Translation into Cantonese will be provided. For more information about this study, please visit vancouver.ca/legacy-business

  • 02 Feb 2017

    Civic Economics is a respected and well-known organization that has produced a long-line of studies that indicate the economic impact of buying local. Local dollars are said to recirculate 2-4 times when spent with locally owned businesses compared to multinational organizations because they:

    • Recirculate greater profits in the community
    • Create more local employment
    • More often buy local products and services (especially local marketing and financial services)
    •  Donate more to local charities, non-profit groups and community organizations

    In the BC study, Civic Economics assesses the local and Canadian market share of independent and chain business and calculates the economic impacts of locally owned business compared to their major North American chain competitors.

    Here are some of the highlights:

    Market Share

    • Local businesses in Canada have less than 1/2 the total market share on average. This has been dropping slightly each year since 2008
    • Market share by local business has dropped approximately 15% in the last 11 years in both BC & Canada
    • BC local retailers have the third lowest market share in the country. Local businesses captured just 34.7%  of the market in 2010, in front of only Alberta & Manitoba (tied at 33.1%) and Nova Scotia (30.8%). We lag the Canadian average of 41.8% and are way behind local market share leaders in Quebec (54.7%)
    • BC furniture & home furnishing stores have the highest market share by local business in the country
    • BC food & beverage stores have the lowest market share by local business in the country

    Mulitplier

    • BC local businesses creates double the economic impact of their chain competitors. They recirculate more than 2.6 times as much revenue in the local economy as chains (46.3% compared to 17.8% for chains)
    • Local retailers recirculate 45% compared to 17% for chains
    • Local restaurants recirculate 65% compared to 30% for chains

    Civic Economics cites the greater labour intensity of local restaurants compared to retail stores as the reason for the greater economic impact.

    Buy Local

    The impact of buying local, even a few more purchases each week, can have a big impact on the local economy and on communities across BC.

    Civic Economics assessed the impact of consumers increasing local purchasing by 10% and found it would create

    • 31,000 jobs
    • $940 million in wages to BC workers

    Download the Civic Economics Study Here

  • 30 Nov 2015

    Just in time for the 4th annual BC Buy Local Week, LOCO BC launches a new research report highlighting a growing trend in online shopping, how BC businesses are competing online, and what motivates online shoppers. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

    • Online shopping is a growing trend in Canada. Sales are expected to double by in the next four years, from $22 Billion in 2014 to $40 Billion by 2019.
    • B.C. retailers cite “competition from internet retailers” as one of two top challenges they face (tied for top issue at 64% along with “big competitors receive better pricing & terms”).
    • Very few businesses feel they are marketing themselves effectively. The majority of them are spending less than $200/year on advertising.
    • 2 out of every 3 dollars spent online by Canadians goes to a U.S. retail website.
    • Cross border online shopping reduces the amount of money circulating in the local economy by up to 32%.
    • The higher the volume of online purchasing a consumer does, the more likely it is that they purchase with chains versus local businesses. Those whose online purchases make up less than
    • 50% of their overall consumer spending are spending approximately equal amounts with chains as local businesses. However, those spending between 75-99% online shop with chains twice as often as with local businesses.
    • Consumers value local. Of Canadian consumers surveyed, 69% valued Canadian ownership as “Most Important” or “Important” when shopping. Over 50% of consumers are seeking locally made products and nearly 50% prefer to buy from companies right in their Province or City.
    • Consumers would spend more money online with local businesses if they offered convenient shipping, e-stores and a better consumer experience navigating their online stores.

    Download the Report

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