BUSINESS BUZZ: Nelson businesses keep going despite difficult times

While many businesses have laid employees off, some are still trying to offer products and services

By Darren Davidson

A considerable number of Nelson businesses are doing what they can to keep at it during these tough times.

Speaking on Kootenay Co-op Radio’s morning program this week, Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson estimated roughly 200 local business are either allowing customers in for direct purchases and delivery-based drops offs, or offering their products and services online.

“We have to take our hats off to those business owners and staff who are still doing what they can,” says Thomson, “and keep in mind those shops and stores that are open are adhering to very strict B.C. health guidelines in regards to the safety of their customers and staff.”

The Nelson Fire Department conducted health inspections of all the grocery stores in town last week and found all in compliance with the province’s new COVID-19 health guidelines.

Thomson suggests local business owners monitor bi-weekly economic “pulse checks” being shared via the BCMindReader.com platform. Those include regular surveys of the province’s small business sector.

The latest survey shows that 23 per cent of BC businesses have pivoted to on-line, digital, or e-commerce options.

Other stats are a little more daunting, understandably.

The latest survey shows nearly one-third of B.C. businesses plan to cancel or have had contracts or tenders cancelled, while a quarter will defer or cancel capital projects in the next two weeks.

• Among those laying off staff, on average, organizations have laid off 43 employees. As B.C. businesses tend to be skewed to smaller businesses (fewer than 20 employees), the median or midpoint is much lower, at five employees.

• More than 50 per cent of businesses are concerned they will be insolvent or not have the fiscal capacity to restart their business.

• Businesses tend to expect the economic rebound in their market will be slow (55 per cent versus 14 per cent fast) but a sizable group is unsure (31 per cent).

Those surveys are conducted by members of the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce and its regional chamber network, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and the Business Council of British Columbia, with the assistance of the Mustel Group.

What kind of help are BC businesses asking the federal and provincial governments for? This is what the latest survey results show.

From Ottawa:

• Provide direct payments to affected businesses (56 per cent).

• Immediately reduce rates for EI, company taxes, personal tax, GST, other government imposed levies or charges (42 per cent).

• Ensure that critical supply chains are able to function (32 per cent).

• Ensure that credit markets and the financial system continue to function (33 per cent).

And from Victoria:

• Further reduce tax rates and defer payments facing B.C. businesses and households (57 per cent).

• Consider remedies for businesses not able to pay rent in collaboration with property owners and tenants (42 per cent).

• Provide direct support to B.C. industry sectors that are being particularly affected by the pandemic crisis (46 per cent).

Do what you can to support your local businesses folks. They need us.

Community Futures Central Kootenay is stepping up to help businesses and communities through the COVID crisis. They’ve been curating business resources, hosting business round tables, expanding the business loans program, and providing free business advice to business owners.

There’s also a Facebook group, COVID-19 Support for Kootenay Businesses, a platform for business owners to ask questions and find resources. To attend the roundtable, email amacdonald@futures.bc.ca or visit futures.bc.ca/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Stay safe and kind out there everyone.

Related:

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

As Nelson hotels close, some try to stay open without guests

Who needs Amazon? Nelson businesses stay afloat with local deliveries

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Nelson council backtracks on one-way High Street

Bike corridor will have two shared lanes, reduced vehicle traffic and lower speed limits

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

Mercer Celgar to temporarily lay off majority of Castlegar mill workers in July

The company said it’s possible that the workers could be laid off for more than a month

BUSINESS BUZZ: Baldface Lodge continues work on new headquarters

Our columnist also reports on a new tourism association and a Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism contest

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Angel Flight takes flight from Creston after being grounded by COVID-19

Angel Flight is a volunteer-run organization which gives people flights to doctors appointments

Nature Conservancy takes in more lands near Canal Flats

Badgers, bears and birds to benefit from bolstering bunchgrass conservation in Rocky Mountain Trench

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Most Read