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'We did everything that we could': Vancouver business closing just days short of 18-year anniversary

The decision is both financially devastating and emotionally heartbreaking for the owner.
Broadway Subway Project construction Vancouver
Banana Tans tanning salon at 75 W Broadway will be shutting down due to the SkyTrain Millennium Line extension, dubbed the Broadway Subway Project, on August 28, 2023, just a few days short of its 18 year anniversary.

A longtime business is closing down just a few days short of its 18-year anniversary. 

John Boychuk first opened Banana Tans at 148 East Broadway with his late husband on Sept. 1, 2005.

When construction for the Broadway Subway Project began, he was forced to relocate his business to 75 West Broadway -- just two blocks down -- to make room for one of the new SkyTrain stations. 

He's made the difficult decision to shut down the tanning salon, citing the Broadway Subway Project as the main reason for its closure. The last day will be on Aug. 28.

The project, which tunnels below the Broadway corridor, will be a 5.7-kilometre extension of the Millennium Line set to add six more stops to the line.

Construction and slow pedestrian traffic has caused a number of other businesses near Broadway to close, such as, ironically, a 13-year-old Subway restaurant

"It's heartbreaking," Boychuk tells V.I.A. "We did everything that we could."

The business owner claims that Broadway has "basically turned into a freeway and that freeway no longer has a pedestrian-friendly feel to it" resulting in lower levels of walk-by traffic which typically accounts for 15 to 20 per cent of his business. Construction has also limited parking opportunities near Banana Tans, making it less accessible to customers. 

Boychuk notes that on top of significantly less business, costs have increased. "With expenses increasing by 25 per cent and sales being down 60 per cent, there's not a lot of room in the middle to meet," he says. 

The new location itself cost around 100,000 to open, including the City of Vancouver permits for things like signage and awnings, which adds to the expenses.

"Just hang on another year and a half. The benefits are going to come threefold," Boychuk recites what he's been told from those associated with the SkyTrain extension.

"Well, a business that is losing $15,000 to $20,000 a month can't recoup that fast."

Boychuk has been an entrepreneur in Vancouver for the past 25 years, overcoming various challenges and obstacles, but says that this is the first instance where he has "absolutely no way of changing what's around me."

Closing down Banana Tans is not only financially devastating but also emotionally heartbreaking for Boychuk, who co-founded the business with his husband who had passed away in 2019. 

"This was part of his legacy as well," he shares.