With the number of business licences in the city now over the 1,100 mark at 1,133 – up approximately 100 from a year ago – and the business cycle about to enter its busy time, a number of new enterprises have arrived as other changes have taken place.
Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce general manager Carol Fielding describes this spring as very much a waiting game for people within the local business community.
“A lot of the [liquefied natural gas projects] either have their environmental approvals or are in the final stages. And now everyone’s waiting for those final investment decisions,” she said.
“There’s a lot of anticipation for what’s coming and perhaps it’s not coming as quickly as everyone thought.”
She noted that the economic impact from BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line, which finished construction the middle of last year, has now subsided, giving the business community a chance to catch up and prepare for the next round of large-scale economic activity.
“Compared to even four years ago, this has been a good winter,” she said of recent activity. “I think the message for the business community is don’t stop, keep moving forward. Because once it breaks loose, there’s no catching your breath.”
Below is a representative sampling of recent activity.
The light-industrial and service area of Keith Ave. west of the Sande Overpass continues to grow.
The western Canadian firm of Simson-Maxwell, which sells as well as services industrial engines, is about to open a local branch in a building being constructed by Progressive Ventures.
It’ll be Simson-Maxwell’s sixth branch with the next closest one being Prince George and the others in Nanaimo, Port Coquitlam, Edmonton and Calgary.
“We see a lot of potential in the area with LNG and other development,” says company official Ben Beeching of its decision to locate in Terrace.
The company already has customers who would be involved in one way or another through LNG plant and pipeline construction, making it important for Simson-Maxwell to have a branch here, he said. Terrace’s central location as a sales and service centre and transportation hub within the region makes it additionally attractive, Beeching added.
“From Terrace we can cover the region,” he said.
Bravo Cleaning Solutions
Dave Reniero’s been operating a home-based window cleaning business in Terrace for more than 15 years.
And when he decided to expand into vehicle-detailing a former automotive repair shop location on Keith Ave. came open at about the same time.
“It fit the bill perfectly when it came up for lease,” said Reniero who opened up at the spot late last year.
Reniero’s had three people on staff in addition to himself over the winter and expects that to grow as spring turns into summer.
Just off of Keith, on Blakeburn, Bandstra Transportation is expanding its Terrace depot. And it’s doing so thanks to two property purchases – a road allowance from the City of Terrace and a westerly portion of land which once belonged to the now-defunct Terrace Lumber Company and before that, Skeena Cellulose.
Work at Bandstra has already started on a 10,000 square foot warehouse that will more than double the size of the company’s current warehouse space.
“We were getting pretty tight for space,” said Sid Bandstra of the decision to expand.
“We’re also developing our parking area and putting in a lay down area,” he said of space where the company’s trucks and trailers and other equipment can be kept.
The company is anticipating hiring several people as summer nears, mostly for its moving business but also for freight transportation with the latter prospect depending on general economic activity.
Terrace Mini Storage
Where once stood a propane business on Keith there is now Terrace Mini Storage, which opened late last fall.
One of the owners, Claudine Basaraba, speaking from Kamloops, said the business plan had been to sell the property when the economic climate here was in a slump some years ago. “But when business took off, we decided to do this,” she said of the 107-unit storage facility.
The owners also have a small mini-storage in Williams Lake.
Founded 120 years ago in Victoria, Andrew Sheret, which sells plumbing, heating, HVAC and other supplies, is making Terrace its 22nd sales location within the province.
“We can see the growth in the area and believe there’s an opportunity there,” explains company vice president Eric Findlay of its expansion decision.
Its Terrace home is to be the former Coast Tractor building on Keith, east of the Sande Overpass. Andrew Sheret has had a branch in Prince George for a number of years, giving it a northern base from which to expand into the northwest, said Findlay.
The company also has a retail arm called Splashes in 20 of its other locations and will have a showroom here as well, he added.
Another new company to the area is Dulux Paints which now has an outlet on the block of Greig Ave. behind the Terrace Chrysler dealership.
“It’s because that’s where the economic activity is,” says Dave Rimmer, whose responsible for the company’s western Canadian corporate stores.
“We looked at the economic indicators and we knew we needed to be in northern B.C. That’s where we think we should be in anticipation of the next five years, 10 years.”
The company’s closest location is Prince George, where it’s been for 35 years.
Aside from Terrace, the company went on a provincial expansion program last year, adding six stores in the Lower Mainland and one in the Okanagan for a total of 33 outlets.
“We’re expecting big things in B.C.,” said Rimmer of the company’s investment in the province. Nation-wide, Dulux has 250 outlets reaching from coast to coast.
Peoples Drug Mart
Terrace is soon to be home to a Peoples Drug Mart located right beside Save On Foods at the Skeena Mall. Its one of two brands under the Peoples name with a Peoples Drug Mart having a larger retail footprint than a smaller Peoples Pharmacy.
There’s a Peoples Pharmacy in Kitimat, for example.
Peoples, which is an all British Columbia entity, began 39 years ago when seven independent pharmacists banded together for mass purchasing power benefits and other efficiencies.
“Each is independently-owned but yes, you could call it a cooperative where there’s the benefit of wholesale purchasing and support and professional services,” says Frank Cucca who works at the Peoples head office in Burnaby.
Aside from Kitimat and soon here, the only other Peoples in northern B.C. is located in Mackenzie.
M & M Meats
After eight years in the Gobind Mall, M & M Meats closed up in mid-March.
“We really tried to sell the business, to keep it in Terrace, but we just couldn’t find anyone with the right kind of entrepreneurial spirit,” said Glenn Kelly who was a franchise holder along with Darlene Reid.
Kelly, also the Kitimat-based manager for the industrial supplies firm of Acklands-Grainger, said juggling two enterprises was onerous.
“For me personally, it was eight years of going all out,” he said.
Kelly and Reid have also left Terrace for Smithers where Kelly will be the branch manager for the Smithers Ackland-Grainger outlet.
West Coast Vape
The devices they sell emit something like smoke, however workers at West Coast Vape are quick to point out that “vaping” should never be confused with the inhalation of tobacco fumes.
So popular is the new form of nicotine intake that the Terrace shop that opened in February on Lakelse Ave. is devoted entirely to the industry.
“We are currently having the goal of changing people’s lives,” said West Coast Vape manager Danielle Nyman of the business team behind the new store.
“All three of us were smokers and the effects of smoking, and the smell… climbing 1,200 stairs … we decided to try something different, we tried vaping and we noticed a huge difference in our personal health, and it tasted good.”
One of the owners, Kalen Loeppky is from Terrace while the other owner, James Thorpe is from Kamloops where they are setting up a second shop.
A cement company called Terrace Redi-Mix is opening up in an industrial area located between Canadian Tire and Skeena Sawmills at 3332 Earle.
The company is a division of West Fraser Concrete Ltd and has serviced the Terrace area since 1992. West Fraser Concrete head offices are located in Telkwa. In December it purchased the company from local owner Richard Green who is still currently the manager in Terrace.
“Because things are going to be happening around here pretty soon we could probably spend a little money and pay some more taxes and go from there,” said Green of the expansion of his business into the lots next door.
“Everything is heavy in this businesses,” he said of concrete.
Redi-Mix sells paving and other stones and a lot of precast products they make themselves for infrastructure, septic tanks, etc. The PNG gas main will also be extended 60 metres north on Earl and a new stop light will be attached to a hydro pole on the currently undeveloped site.
“The full costs shall be at developer expense,” reads the development permit which was approved by city council in March after some discussion about possible dust impact on residences above the cut bank behind the site.
Terrace’s General Motors dealership at 5004 Hwy16 has also expanded by putting in a new storage area for tires and parts in response, a total of an extra 5,000 square feet.
“Our business has picked up a lot in the last 24 months,” said assistant controller Kevin MacCarthy. “Tires is a big part of our business now We ran out room for storing them.”
There will be another building too for a detail shop, he said, however he is still waiting to see if the local economic surge continues to finalize that expansion.
Increased business volume is also the reason for a 8,400 square foot warehouse being built at Timber Mart on Keith across from Walmart.
“It is designed so you can drive in and get what you need, tie it down, and drive out the other side,” says store principal Derrick Gair of the warehouse which doubles the existing size of the store.
Being under cover won’t expose products or customers to the elements, Gair added.
The business this year notes its 30th anniversary.