Terrace businesses take a hike on Business Walk

Just 34 per cent those selected for annual survey show up for appointment

A lukewarm reception to the annual Business Walk —just 34 per cent of those selected responding—has prompted city council to ask how the important survey will be conducted next year.

A random sample of 112 businesses were contacted in Terrace and Thornhill, but when volunteer teams fanned out in the four-hour survey period May 2, only a fraction of those businesses responded. In some cases the owners or managers were absent, and with others there were concerns of sharing proprietary information in a competitive market. An online survey was subsequently emailed to the selected businesses with three reminders sent out to complete the survey over the following weeks, but still the survey netted only 38 respondents total.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to get that feedback and it’s a great opportunity for businesses to provide input,” said councilor Lynne Christiansen during the final report’s presentation at the June 24 regular council meeting. “Unfortunately in my group…we had four appointments but only managed to meet with one.”

READ MORE: Terrace store encourages other businesses to be more eco-friendly

Christiansen suggested moving away from the random selection model and instead inviting willing participants to reach out to the city for inclusion in the survey.

Councilor James Cordeiro however saw the current method of random selection as critical to future success.

“If we switch it to ‘here’s how you get ahold of us,’ you end up skewing the results,” he said. “Maybe it’s about getting more volunteers and going out over a couple of days instead of one.”

The report was compiled by the city’s economic development manager Danielle Myles, who was absent for the report’s presentation. It’s expected staff will review the study and their procedures at a later date.

Of those businesses who did respond, the 10-question survey revealed some positive trends.

Survey results

Sixty-two per cent reported business growth with an equal number expecting further growth over the next one to two years, a 28 per cent bump in optimism over last year’s survey.

Forty-two per cent cited clientele as the primary reason they enjoy doing business in the area, while 28 per cent said location. A healthy economy, entrepreneurial support and networking were also listed as main reasons.

But when it comes to challenges, 38 per cent of respondents said the number-one worry is recruiting or retaining qualified staff. This number is up seven per cent from last year. Also of concern, affordability is impacting 30 per cent of businesses, up sharply by 25 per cent over 2018.

READ MORE: Economy, staffing named top challenges during Business Walk (2017)

“Staffing has consistently been reported as a top issue in all four [years of the] Business Walks,” the report reads. “New this year is a higher than normal mention of cost issues, which include such challenges as transportation or shipping costs, real estate and housing, financing and taxes.”

But when asked what can be done by business support organizations to help fix the problem, 55 per cent of respondents declined to answer, and 61 per cent did not request further information or a follow up to the survey.

Homelessness and vagrancy, often discussed in the media and by downtown business owners, factored quite low in respondents’ outlook, although 15 per cent of survey respondents noted improving the situation would be valuable to help their businesses thrive.

Volunteer surveyors included members of city council, the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine and the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area. The majority of businesses surveyed were located in city limits.


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP searching for missing Lax Kw’alaams resident

Public urged to help in search for 42-year-old Lawrence Maitland

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Northern Escape Heli Skiing makes way for its first resort lodge in Terrace area

Expected to increase tourism, provide more employment

Pacific Northern Gas moves to reinstate full capacity and expand pipeline

Increased supply and demand could mean lower rates for North Coast customers, PNG says

Terrace Industrial Park build-out continues

Containerized LNG, forestry among potential manufactured goods

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read