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COVID-19: BC's recovery remains challenging. business

A study by the Federation of Independent Businesses of Canada found that up to 17% are considering closing their stores.

Darren Gay at Black Dog Video was trying to think of ways to adjust business before the pandemic, but was crushed by the drop in rentals and decided to pull the plug this year.
Darren Gay of Black Dog Video was wondering how to adjust it. rice field. We were in business pre-pandemic, but were so crushed by the drop in rentals that we decided to unplug this year. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Darren Gay's niche videos His rentals his business By the beginning of the year, it was already unstable. As of 2020, it was stable enough that he was thinking about ways to diversify his Black Dog Video business in his drive commercials.

Instead, his business said that just staying home during COVID-19 restrictions would be enough to help with the rent increases he's been hit with. Crushed by a customer base that didn't come back in numbers. In January, premiums increased, making inventory more expensive.

"Our last day was June 25th," Gay said of his decision to finally pull the plug.

Gays are not alone. There are quite a few BC signs. Businesses are still under stress from rising costs, while sales have not reached pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent surveysurvey

Respondents admitted they were considering liquidating their businesses or even declaring bankruptcy.

"It's just the sum of all of this," said Annie Domus, director of state affairs for the Commonwealth of British Columbia.

The company has his COVID-19-related debt from federal assistance programs, slow revenue recovery, increased government costs from increased employment insurance and Canada pension plan payments, Domas said he couldn't pay it back because of the rising rent.

Difficulties in finding employees, skyrocketing shipping costs, and disruptions in his chain of supply have made it difficult to keep inventory and keep doors open.

Nationwide, CFIB research shows that corporate failures have increased since mid-2021, but this is just the 'tip of the iceberg' of struggling businesses. Many will simply close the door before having to declare bankruptcy. to 50%, extending repayment terms until the end of 2024, and increasing small loans. Business tax credit from $600,000 to $500,000.

Domas said BC could refund some of his $3.4 billion surplus in WorkSafeBC coffers.

A survey found that 51% of businesses in British Columbia have not recovered to pre-pandemic revenue levels and 56% are still in debt due to the pandemic.

"Property taxes are a big issue, and starting this year we're also dealing with state costs associated with employer-paid sick leave," Domas said.

Vancouver County is tax-first. Sarah Kirby-Yung speaks with the owner of her business.

"The most important thing within the sphere of civic responsibility is to keep taxes reasonable," says Kirby Jung, despite making up only 15% of the land base. , "For the business taxpayer who pays the biggest taxes."

Her concern is that Vancouver has increased taxes by almost 25% cumulatively over the past four years, including the year of the pandemic.

"That's really important. When they're down on punitive increases they can't sustain, you're literally taking a toll on business," said Kirby-Yung. } Kirby-Yung said cities could respond more quickly when adjusting regulations for businesses wanting to turn around, such as allowing restaurants to add specialty food sales on premises as a way to diversify. added that it was necessary. To adapt.

But "regulatory processes are usually restrictive and change very slowly," she said.

Backed up supply chains, etc. , and other elements are out of government control, said Jane McFadden, executive director of the Kitsilano Fourth Avenue Business Improvement Area.

She described her outdoor sports store in her BIA as having "a spectacular ski season" but struggling to keep stock of snowboards and gear. pointed out. Likewise, during the cycling boom that accompanied the pandemic, the stores were unable to get their hands on the bikes.

"We're at this peak right now and I don't think we'll be able to get another bike until 2023," McFadden said. If not, I think it will be doubled.”

Business owners don't usually reach out when they're in trouble, said executive director of the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association. Neil Wiles said.

In some cases, it may simply be that rents have become too high, Wiles said. Other stores remain empty as landlords want a six-month demolition clause or businesses are awaiting renovation permits.

Gay wished he had time to adjust his already shrinking video rental business. For now, he's keeping his Black Dog website active, selling the rest of his vast collection of videos.

"I'd love to think we might do something else related to rentals, but it's hard to say," Gay said.

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