Dec 15, 2020
Can Vancouver’s outdoor retail row survive MEC’s move off Broadway?
Michael McCullough

Walk into the new MEC flagship store in Vancouver’s Olympic Village and you’ll spot a restored baby-blue Volkswagen microbus, an homage to the retailer’s first venue. Back in 1971, the original van would haul camping and climbing gear acquired at...

Nov 17, 2020
How Tracy Stewart turned surviving breast cancer into a business venture
Nathan Caddell

"Thrift stores are kind of my haven,” says Tracy Stewart. And it makes sense—she found solace in them after going through breast cancer treatment a dozen years ago. There was chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and then post-mastectomy reconstruction. But the implants...

Oct 20, 2020
Supportive apparel company Stoko blazes trail from the basement of UBC to full-fledged business
Nathan Caddell

I last talked to Zack Eberwein two-and-a-half years ago. Not too much has changed for me since then, honestly. For him, it might as well have been a decade. The then-23-year-old was tinkering in the basement of UBC’s Institute for Computing...

Sep 29, 2020
Want to get main streets back up and running? Start with good data
Nick Rockel

From Victoria to St. John’s, COVID-19 has made life difficult for main streets across the country. Cities need to give struggling retail and commercial businesses a helping hand. But to make the right decisions when it comes to economic recovery, Andy Yan says, they also need good data. To that end, Yan helped create the Main Street Data Primer: A Resource for Policymakers, Main Street Stakeholders and Urban Researchers...

Sep 2, 2020
Vancouver’s Deqq Apparel partners with Joe Average to make wearable art that can’t be ripped off
Alyssa Hirose

At a Banff business conference more than a decade ago, a guy walked up to Vancouver tech entrepreneur David Gratton and literally offered to buy the shirt off his back. “It had an embroidered picture of an old airplane that...

Aug 26, 2020
B.C. 2.0.: Retailers try reinventing themselves to survive the COVID-19 pandemic
Frances Bula

Blaine McNamee had already brought the dead back to life once in B.C.’s retail world. Then the pandemic came. McNamee is the guy who took over the empty storefront that had been home to the cherished Wonderbucks on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive—an...

Aug 26, 2020
B.C. 2.0.: Adaptable clothing companies pursue new markets in wake of pandemic
Alyssa Hirose

“One of our company values is to evolve. We just thought, OK, we’ve got to work with what we got—and once evolved, we can make things happen,” says CJ King, vice-president, omni-channel, of outdoor apparel brand Arc’teryx Equipment. The North...

Aug 18, 2020
JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits’ Maple Ridge location unionizes—could it start a trend?
Nathan Caddell

A Maple Ridge liquor store has reportedly become the first B.C. retail outlet to unionize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy-five percent of the staff at JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits’ Maple Ridge location voted to join the Burnaby-based Service Employees International Union...

Aug 11, 2020
Young Guns: Caroline Bertrand founded Borderline Bodysuits off the side of her Shopify desk
Nathan Caddell

Some entrepreneurs create ideas; some ideas create entrepreneurs. In Caroline Bertrand’s case, it’s too early to tell, but her first endeavour seems to fall firmly in the latter category. Even at a young age, as a gymnast growing up in...

Aug 10, 2020
New study holds lessons for small businesses hoping to pull through pandemic
By the Editors

As COVID-19 transforms the business world, a new study shows how it’s reshaping main streets in our major cities. The Block Reports survey puts seven commercial hubs in B.C. and Ontario under the microscope. The authors looked at data such as business closures, foot traffic pre- and post-COVID, the proportion of independent businesses and the size of the local residential population...

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