April 2020: Merchant Survey Comments
Forgive rent for the duration of closure. Funded by Federal Government?
Advertising, reduced rent
I'd like to see CMHC supporting ALL of the tenants on the island with their marketing as opposed to just their direct tenants. I think they need to keep the parking free for the balance of the year even though it's a financial hit for them. I also think they need to get creative around allowing tenants use of outside spaces for those people that are hesitant to go "inside" stores and studios
Help tenants pay their rent.
Offer reduced rents
Implement a delivery service that amalgamates all tenants into a coordinated effort. You need to start thinking out of the box.
Rent cover or substantial rent cover for months that island wasn’t able to normally operate
Tenants will need long term, 12-24 months rent support/abatement (not deferral/loans) to survive this, or many if not all, will fold.
My main concern regards a return to the unsustainable pre-covid-19 hours of operation. Our Public Market operation is, and has been, non-viable since CHMC, over the opposition of most Market businesses, extended hours to 7:00 pm. This resulted in an 11% increase in payroll and a 0% increase in sales. For our business, this amounts an additional payroll expense of just under $20,000 per year, which requires an additional ±$200,000 in sales to cover. We cannot remain in the GIPM unless closing time reverts to 6:00 pm. Sometimes it takes a smack upside the head to recognize an inconvenient fact: We should never have renewed our GIPM lease after the hours were extended to 7:00 pm. We will not do so if the Market reverts to staying open later than 6:00 pm.
Deferring of rent and/or forsaking rent owed during COVID-19. Reduction of rent after re-opened for 12 month period. Increased Marketing Budget to support growth/return of visitors to GI - more Social Media Presence. NO PAID parking. Outdoor activities to entice people to come to GI. Implementation of Creative Ideas to entice people to come to GI. Get tenants into existing spaces that are empty to again give people a reason to visit.
In my opinion, CMHC can charge rent again, once we're back in business, but they need to take a look at the %rent, but with the reduced sales, businesses will have a very hard time to stay afloat
cap on (ed. rent?) increases; dissolve parking costs on the island
Be patient and allow businesses to operate at levels that they feel comfortable with. Not to pressure businesses to open to full capacity / with regards to services and hours of operation as being open at all is a risk to people's health and safety. To excuse a portion of the rent for all tenants whose income has been affected based on the income they are taking in as many of us are required to submit our monthly totals they are well aware of what people's individual business situation is. Of course we all recognize that is where they receive their revenues but even though there has been an announcement by the federal gov't about rent relief for commercial rents we have not had a confirmation of what that means for granville island would be good to know from cmhc what that means for the tenants of the island.
They must take advantage of federal rent subsidies, develop a working relationship with tenants [without threats of fines], advertising could be reduced if they asked businesses to celebrate the Island without a multitude of petty regulations [ for example you can’t put up any signs without bureaucratic entanglement, but we can cover the island with notices telling the belligerents not to smoke, feed the birds etc.].
Reduce rent to zero and temporarily and then allow long term (5yr) repayment program.
For businesses that shut down completely , with no ability to sell online , etc , therefore zero income...full rent forgiveness for the time they were closed just makes sense . Probably won't happen , so a generous rent reduction would be my next hope .
Deferred rent along with taking advantage of government rent reductions
Rent freeze until the situation improves.
Make it easier and more appealing for customers to come down: reinstate 3 hour free parking, petition for a bus to come down to the island (a shuttle on the old #51 route) advertise! Postpone any impending rent hikes.
Flexible hours of operation
Forgiveness on at least part of deferred rent. maybe a small % reduction of rent for a while after deferral ends. We expect we won't even start being profitable again for at least a year.
Keep Granville Island safe from a health perspective
To let locals and visitors know that we & GI are open and safe to visit.
Rent forgiveness, rent reduction, offer of free parking for businesses and customers
Provide a Safe environment for Staff and customers. Adhering to Federal and Provincial Medical Officers orders Give retailers flexibility regarding Store hours rent Relief for the period of time stores are closed and rent reduction for one year after re-opening. advertising campaigns using Traditional media eg: Outdoor (the billboard on 6th ave as you enter GI) & Buses Radio, also Social Media
keep parking fees away for this year - bring people back
find a way to accommodate all vendors who wish to sell - currently there wouldn't be enough space for all vendors so some have to go elsewhere or stay at home + not sell
Rent relief. This will allow companies to have an operating budget and enable them to advertise and try and bring people back to the island.
Cancel all rents not paid during the lock-down. During the re-opening phase keep parking free for tenants and customers.
Free parking for a year everywhere on the island advertising that we are open for small business retail, restaurants, not just cultural businesses
I want you to take advantage of what the government is offering so that we only have to pay 25% of rent instead of 100%. It was extremely unfair that the upper level of Maritime Market got no break on rent, whereas the lower level did. Our offices are too small to allow for social distancing.
Any breaks on rent would help, with rules about how they are passed down 2 rungs below CMHC i.e., from 2nd level landlords to end tenants (small businesses).
I think it would be awesome to have an Island wide delivery service, preferably a company run by or moderated by CMHC or GIBCA or Friendly Granville Island. Most of the delivery services available now take a Huge chunk of sales. If I have to pay a company that much money to provide a service, I'd prefer it to be a company that will work in my best interest and the best interest of my community.
Reduce operating costs where possible Participate fully in Federal Rent Programs Increase advertising to drive traffic - use coop programs
I would like them to advocate for businesses here to have rent subsidized if our business have closed or working offsite and with a significant decrease in sales.
Reduce rent (50-75%) to reflect reduced usage
I would like to see free parking to encourage local people to come to granville island
Reduce hours of operation so that we can gauge the traffic returning to GI without having to over commit to staff. Reduce rent for the next few months once we reopen so we can direct sales revenues towards other commitments we have had to delay due to the closures.
I would like CMHC to work with us to persuade the Head Lessor - Foreshore Projects - to forgive some of our rent, and to pass some of the savings they get from CMHC to us.
CMHC has demonstrate great leadership in cooperating between multiple parties. Maybe CMHC can consider to grant a fixed period of rent reduction to tenants before there is a confirmed sign business would resume healthy trend
Those of us who have had to completely close need significant rent relief for the months closed and some rent relief for the months going forward dues to loss of sales
We need rent relief. I understand Granville Island is self sustaining but it isn't a question of whether or not we should pay differed rent. Rather we struggle to pay 100% of our rent at the best of times and I don't see how we are going to be able to pay more than 100% for a duration as we wait for or sales to return to normal over an extended period of time. I also think Granville Island's hours should remain reduced for a while to concentrate customers in fewer hours and lessen payroll obligations.
Forgiveness on rent during the pandemic.
Rent Relief, Charge the min. cam fees, etc.
Reduce rent and CA costs Free parking!! Have some media presence
Participate in federal government loan offer of 75% rent relief for small businesses.
Forgive debt And reduce debt, free parking for customers, create promotion, a collective pick-up and delivery system from Granville island stores, once COVID is over, a Granville Island wide “street sale”, work with the tenants to develop monthly events that are cheap but allow us to really promote the island, our businesses and the community as a whole, fewer ridiculous rules, socialized security officers who care about reducing crime on the island instead of policing tenants, permit all retail to use area outside our shops for baskets and tables to reduce traffic inside, employ laid off Granville Island workers first in all work on the island even if it is simple manual labour but let our workers have the first crack at those jobs, create a reduce food waste program for island workers to access food before it is thrown out by restaurants and market vendors and then to distribute the rest to communities and people in need in Vancouver, engage heritage Canada and hire artists on the island to beautify and create public art displays, creat the Granville island buskers recordings to sell to help buskers and host an online Granville island buskers concert where store owners can also talk about what they do and offer, create virtual shopping experiences where people can come to the island and do their online shopping in one go - not having to go to the online store for each shop and then offer the pick up or delivery option - I have a million more ideas too.
Rent and Moorage Relief
Suspension of rent until opening, then graduated rent as revenues recover.
Remain transparent, prepare and deliver a rent subsidy plan
Push advertising to increase in-city visitors as so much of our traffic is made up of tourists. Even when we are allowed to reopen visitors from abroad will be restricted. Consider waiving parking fees. Reduce rent long-term until tourist traffic has returned.
I’d like to see the CMHC secure funding to allow rent reduction for the period of covid closure. Deferral is not an adequate solution.
Free parking for all customers visiting. Increased advertising to remind customers that GI is a great place to shop. Financial assistance to tenants when reopened. Reduced rent especially for the initial phase right after reopening.
reduce rent, promote all businesses - not just the market
50% rent for 2 years
NO PAYMENT RENT FOR AT LEASE 3 MONTHS OR MORE
Hard core advertising and marketing!!!! Not just Instagram etc but tv and print. Radio maybe. The fact that we are producing high end exclusive and original art and design here must be at the forefront!!!!
Keep parking free on Granville Island. Better advertising for ALL businesses on GI, not just the public market.
Support all businesses on the Island with information to the public on reopening. Emphasize the full Granville Island experience by promoting all businesses on the island.
Advertising - busses - local papers - Instagram and social media - get the locals back to holiday in their own city (like we used to do!). Renting available vacant spaces to working artists to create a vibrant working Island - NOT expensive Pop Up Shops that no artists can afford!!. Giving breaks on rent to those who need it. Keep the free parking going to get people back again. Locals will be so eager to be out in the world again when this is all over - Let's give them somewhere to go and have a beer and listen to music and buy art and be with people in a beautiful, creative environment. Robson Street is dead! - Long live Granville Island!!
No charge for parking!!! And advertise it!!
I lease through a head lessor. I want CMHC to work with the head lessors to gain lease full/partial abatement.
Complete lease negotiations
Waive of entire rent from March 15 until Sept 15. No parking fee for next 12 months. Then reduce rent to half from Sept 15 to March 15 2021. Thereafter charge a fixed renegotiated rent OR 5-8% of sales, whichever is higher. And parking can be charged for weekends only from March 2021.
forgive rent. Quickly make Granville Island an attractive place to visit for locals- we will need them more than ever
Advertising, rent reduction, added security to manage crowds
Let it follow the province guidelines. Be patient with the rent process
Increase incentives for people to visit Granville island, decrease rents for next 1.5 to 2 years while there is an economic depression, advertise more than the market
Forego deferred rent. Attract more local customers for artists to the island (as it will probably take time for tourists to come back)
stop the antagonistic attitude towards tenants .rent relief, promote the Island to locals,re-evaluate the methodology of the managment of Granville Island.
how many characters do we have????? Advertise more to locals; get the Instagram working - it has been down for 2 weeks now; be more adaptable; allow us to choose our own business hours - ie to close earlier than 7!; be more understanding of small business pressures; communicate on a weekly basis - even if there is NO news to share - without anything coming out for them we wonder if they are actually there & working on our behalf, for us.
Reduced table fees for vendors... Reduced rent for businesses. Do not charge or greatly reduce fees for buses and bus tours to come in. Maintain free parking or if parking must remain to help costs... Then try to implement reduced parking fees and even free parking hours increased to 11 am And 5 pm. First and foremost, we need to bring the people back.
Reduce or eliminate rent
To let locals and visitors know that we & GI are open and safe to visit.
Keep promoting us as you are right now
It's all about marketing ALL our businesses. This is who we are; this is what we do; here's how to support us. A collective effort we could all contribute to.
Help promote the Island again, give us some guidance on how we can manage the distancing, lobby for us to have hours that work for us so we can have the number of staff that makes sense.
Marketing to locals. There won’t be tourists for a long time
I think there will need to be a marketing plan to encourage rubber tired automobile visitors from western provinces and states to visit Vancouver.
Advertise the Granville Island experience to support the businesses on the island. Marketing should be the number one effort of the business association. Promotion of the members is what's going to keep us alive.
Granville Island is the heart of Vancouver. It was since the day it opened. Nothing else compares. We have to show the city that the heart is still beating. Than when all else fails, there is still Granville Island. Earthy. Grass Roots. Creative. Fun. Social. Alive. It's like our Town Square. After this crazy, devastating time, we all need to find our way back to where we began. Our communal /community starting point.
Strong promotion/advertisement of the retail sector on the island.
Focus on positive things to attract people back to the island
Before reopening, can we work together to promote members online businesses more?
Become more of a voice for the tenants, promote it's own members.
More promotion of GI to locals - we are not going to get the tourists this year which form a maize part of our income for all of us.
Really focus on bringing the people and visitors back to GI. Everyone's financial status has been greatly affected.. Including people who will be visiting.... Thus do whatever you can to make it financially easier for people to want to come to GI to shop... And help the businesses with rent reductions as we attempt to rebuild our businesses. As a business, I know I will be lowering my prices to encourage sales and offering incentives...Encourage businesses to keep things affordable. It would be disheartening to see businesses doing the opposite to help recover losses... As this would affect overall recovery greatly. Thank you for your time with this survey... And all the best with finding balances between all the branches of our hub and community.
Business Strategy Advice
To be an advocate for GI retailers and help us negotiate terms regarding the re-opening our businesses with CMHC Continue to advocate. thanks for all the work you are doing now. Become almost like a union for tenants to support us and create a really strong collective voice. Granville island should be under heritage Canada not under Cmhc - it should not be profit focused but break even focused and mission driven. It is an arts hub not a profit Center. It should encourage innovation, creativity, community, experimentation and risk taking. GIBCA needs to help us make collective voice result In action. Granville Island has really lost its artistic hub core focus feeling even over the time we have been on the island. We feel policed more than supported, looked down on more than lifted.
Keep Community support, help find solutions, we expect there will be change Some special events would be great. Again to entice locals to return to Granville island Communication Continued to share information, taking the active part in reaching beyond Communicate all that you know is going on Keep communication going and share businesses challenges and successes
Lobbying the CMHCLobby CMHC for the above. Take the lead on some new island programming as CMHC is not going to be doing this (by the sounds of it right now) Make it very clear to CMHC that without a long term rent relief plan in place, there is no point in opening as it will cost more to be open then to stay home • Close the Public Market at 6:00 pm. • Reduce Granville Island administration costs – CMHC is a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy with no accountability to the tenants who fund the Island's operations. • Reduce the number of negative-revenue events on the Island, particularly those that compete for revenue with Island businesses (i.e., inviting food trucks onto the island to compete with Island food service businesses), and/or those that block or reduce access and parking. • Provide 1, or 2 hours (1 hour initially, extended to 2, if necessary) free parking for shoppers on the Island. • Designate at least 2 seats on the Island Council for Granville Island stakeholders, including at least 1 seat for a representative selected by Public Market businesses. Make the Island Council entirely independent from CMHC, and administratively uncouple it from CMHC.
Mediate with the CMHC
Continue working as a mediator between CMHC and all GI tenants. Make sure they understand once the situation improves, it will take time to adjust. We don't think there will be any tourism this year. Continue to work cooporatively with CMHC to try and find solutions to ensure that businesses make it through - surveys are great for feedback. Also maybe discussions/assistance on how better to protect staff and follow any new regulations that may require us to rethink how we operate, if we reopen while there is still a pandemic. Effective and regular Communication between CMHC and GIBCA Focus on island Biz to Biz programs Build bridges between tenants landlords and CMHC Present CMHC with a proposal that forgives the rent for the entire time we were closed due to COVID- 19 and reimburse any rent that was paid in full for the portion of March we were closed. Defer and/or reduce the rent starting from reopening so we can direct sales revenues towards paying other bills to suppliers etc. and have the ability to cover payrolls. Push CMHC to realize that promoting to tourism is not going to help and we need to re-evaluate the rents charged to tenants and how many people are in the administration office. there seems to be way to many to function effectively. There is an overwhelming amount of bureaucracy on the island. Also no one is responsible for decision making. We need to push the council to meet their mandate to chose a new manager for Granville Island. There is no excuse to not get that job done at this time. Continue to relay the needs of each business to CMHC Really be in conversation w Cmhc re promotion and possible rent forgiveness for a couple of months. Be a liaison between the tenant and CMHC
Offer Delivery Service
Be the voice of small businesses
I'd like GIBCA to continue to be the voice of small businesses on Granville Island when it comes to speaking with CMHC. Also, if CMHC can't be a larger presence for online sales, or online in general, maybe that's the torch GIBCA can take up. I think Granville Island as a whole needs a way bigger presence online and in the local media. If that's something CMHC isn't willing to do, maybe GIBCA can step up and bring the whole Island into the 21st century.
Increase Social Media
Increase Social Media activities to create awareness - reasons to come to GI. Keep up the emails, news media blasts, social media on individual businesses Promote the Island on various social media. Check out with stores that would be interested to offer some items FREE if a customer spends/shops for like $100/$200 or more in their store. These promotions should appear on the Islands website & also on Island print media free of charge. More promos like free coffee/cookies/ candies with support of the stores for customers buying from them. We need to promote the Island’s history/tradition & encourage customer to buy & support locally. May be free show tickets , parking waiver or something. Whichever way, we need to get the consumer back & win their trust.
Increased sanitization, security of building use by non-tenants, free/subsidized office sanitization/cleaning