Back in November we published a feature from The Canadian Press about how the City of Vancouver has been exploring options around how they might help “legacy businesses” survive here. These are businesses whose value to the community goes beyond the stock on the shelves.
They were looking at the model that San Francisco launched in 2016 when that city established a growing registry of 111 legacy businesses and non-profits, offering them funding to help keep them in operation. Funding. As in actual money. The city gives them money to stay afloat.
In SF, legacy businesses that qualify “will be eligible for a yearly grant based on number of employees ($500 per employee, with a cap of 100 employees)”. That’s $50,000 per year.
It also extends to the property owners who extend ten year or longer leases to legacy businesses. These owners are “eligible for a yearly grant ($4.50 per square foot per, with a cap of 5,000 square feet)”. That’s $22,500 per year.
“To qualify, a business has to have been operating for 30 years — 20 years if it can show it is at immediate risk of displacement — and it must prove it has had a significant impact on the culture and history of a neighbourhood. The mayor and other elected representatives must first nominate a business for it to be considered.”
In recent years we’ve been seeing Vancouver businesses close up shop due to the affordability crisis which goes beyond residential. While there are exceptions of establishments like Nick’s Spaghetti House closing down after 62 years due to the proprietor’s retirement, more and more closures are being blamed on the businesses not being feasible as their rents get jacked up. While it could be argued that we have weak rent control in place for residents, protections for commercial real estate are practically nonexistent; if a property owner wants to increase the rent for a commercial property by 5,000% there’s nothing stopping them from doing that.
City hall is closed between Christmas and New Year’s so we weren’t able to get a comment from anyone who has been working on the study which is expected to be released soon. So while we’re waiting for them to decide to take some form of action (or not), we figured we’d get a list going of the businesses that Vancouverites think should be protected.
So tell us: which legacy businesses (25+ years in operation) would you truly, truly miss if they shut down? Which local shops in your neighbourhood would leave a hole if they were to disappear this year? Leave a comment on the Facebook post HERE and we’ll publish a master list of the ones that got the most love later this month.
And here’s a primer list to get you going: