BUSINESS BUZZ: Nelson’s stimulus plan applauded, Chamber’s AGM goes virtual

Columnist Darren Davidson brings us recent business news from Nelson

Signs for the times — Kootenay Co-op Radio operations manager Rob Andrew and sales rep Amelie Sauquet hold one of over 200 Open For Business awareness campaign signs that have gone up at shops and stores in the past few weeks. The campaign was launched by Community Futures, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce. Photo: Darren Davidson

By Darren Davidson

Safe. Slow. Methodical.

These are the words B.C.’s top doc used last week to describe the way we’ve got to re-open our communities and economies.

Leading the way locally, the City of Nelson rolled out its economic stimulus and financial stability plan to significant praise from the business sector last week.

“Many of the programs implemented by the city have been advocated for by the Chamber,” says Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson, “and our board of directors appreciate the decisive action taken by council to address as many of these concerns as possible.”

Amongst the highlights, according to Thomson: waiving patio rental fees and sidewalk rental fees for this year; extending the payment period for commercial taxes, electrical, water and sewer fees without penalty; the implementation of a storefront-façade improvement program; energy programs and assisting with the development of online shopping opportunities through the creation of a Digital Main Street platform.

“While the crisis appears to be easing slowly for the public as we flatten the curve,” Thomson adds, “ironically the problems appear to be deepening for businesses.”

Over 40 per cent of businesses have indicated they can only continue to operate for another 60 days under current restrictions. You can find the 25-point plan at nelson.ca.

If uptake of the Open For Business poster campaign is any indication, hundreds of business throughout the city, Kaslo and Slocan Valley are keeping their chins up and noses to the grindstone.

The campaign, spearheaded by the good folks at Community Futures, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce, has the great-looking posters up at 235 businesses across the Central Kootenay. Stats suggest over 425 businesses are open.

“These range from accommodators, to dining, retail to professional services” says Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism’s Dianna Ducs. “I’m sure there are more that are open, we just don’t have all the data.”

Ducs is quick to note that status, hours and days of operation can change daily and that the definition of “open” is fairly subjective nowadays.

Her organization is gathering all their stakeholders, by sectors, online, and hosting many roundtables.

“These will be helpful networks of sharing, supporting, and providing new ideas on how we can move through the phases of recovery and resilience, together,” she adds.

Here’s a long overdue congrats…a few months back, Mike, Jean, Susan, Don and Brian Wagg of Wagg’s Boarding and Grooming retired from kennel life.

“We’d like to thank all of our clients from the Kootenays and beyond who have been coming to us for the last 23 and a half years,” say the Waggs.

Carleigh and Chris Newton, new to Nelson, purchased the property and kennel under their new name: Gracie’s Kennel.

Back to the Chamber … the Nelson and District Chamber is shifting to a virtual AGM for this year only. A secure electronic voting platform will be used to cast ballots for returning and new board members. If you’re a member in good standing and would like to receive an e-ballot to vote, send a note to tom@discovernelson.com.

Zoom and e-voting procedures will be sent out soon for the AGM, to be held later this month. Seven people are running for six positions on the board. Returning directors up for election include: Michael Borch/Baker Street Menswear, Bob Hall/Selkirk College and Rebeckah Hornung/Whitewater Ski Resort. New nominees include Chris Drysdale/Cloudside Hotel, Sean Dooley/Hipperson’s Hardware, Roger Quayle/CIBC and the fella in the photo below, your Business Buzz host, Darren Davidson/Davidson Communications and Media.

The Kootenay Association of Science and Technology has launched the Kootenay Tech Slack Channel. Karen Kornelsen, KAST’s community and events manager, explains that the online venue is a place for you to come together with like-minded people to network, collaborate, share ideas, post jobs, and take part in positive discussions around relevant issues including technology, science, innovation and business.

Today is KAST’s Virtual Connection Day. A series of free workshop is being offered for local small-to-medium sized companies in non-tech industries in the Kootenays looking to learn about what technologies to adopt to reach customers and generate sales.

If you missed it, the series is being presented by Megan Adams from Invermere’s Mountain Hub. Follow up with Kornelsen at karen@kast.com.

KAST’s brand spankin’ new Nelson Innovation Centre was slated to open before the COVID crisis …instead, they’re offering concierge services, programming and events virtually. Email nic@kast.com for assistance. Stay tuned for the launch of the new nelsoninnovationcentre.com website in May. And don’t forget — Nelson Tech Meetups take place monthly. The next one will be end of May. Check the KAST calendar at https://kast.com/events-workshops.

Still down in Railtown, the NIC’s next door neighbour, Kootenay Mountain Culture, has some great news for fans. While the KMC gang has had to cancel the mid-May release of their summer issues of both Kootenay Mountain Culture and Coast Mountain Culture, they’ve found a way to get ‘er done.

A hybrid issue of KMC and CMC will be released in early July, called The Obsession Issue. In a bid to keep the business afloat in these daunting times, the KMC team has asked everyone to sign up for their newsletter, tag a friend in the magazines’ Instagram posts, and follow them on Facebook. They’ve got a heap of beautiful back issues for sale too, going back all of their 18 years.

And hey! Don’t forget Mother’s Day. Want a great gift package that’ll support local businesses and show Mom she’s No. 1? The West Kootenay EcoSociety has a terrific program underway: The Local Mother’s Day Gift Box — including Virtue Teas, No. 6 Portal Coffee, Viva Cacao, Oso Negro EcoSociety Blend, and Kootenay Kettle Corn. Click on http://www.ecosociety.ca/news/mothers-day-local-gift-box.

Got a tip for the Business Buzz? Send it to editor@nelsonstar.com.

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Wagg’s Boarding and Grooming has changed hands after 23½ years. It’s now Gracie’s Kennel. Photo submitted

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