Third Annual Prince Rupert Business Walk Explore How Owners are Doing City Wide

Prince Rupert councillors, city staff, and business leaders put on their running shoes for their annual business walk Thursday.

The walk, which is in its third year, allows officials to get a better idea on how owner/operators are doing throughout the city and explore ways to improve the business climate.

The walk includes all corners of the city including the downtown, Cow Bay and out in the Industrial Park.

Councillor Blair Mirau, who talked to a lot of Cow Bay businesses, had a few takeaways.

“The best thing owners say about doing business in the city is the people, occurring customers, friendly people, it's always the number one answer. On the flipside as in the challengers, almost everyone said it's hard to find skilled labours, available staff and working out hours and schedules.”

There are a few questions the survey has been asking owners over the past three walks.

“Do they feel like they're growing, staying steady, or shrinking? Do they anticipate the same thing over the next 1-3 years? We also dig deeper at staff numbers and how they compare to other years and their projections.”

The city's economic development officer, Paul Vendittelli, says the messages have been pretty consistent over the years.

“Businesses in the downtown rely on parking to get customers and a lot of times, space is an issues. City wide, staffing, the attraction of a workforce has been a steady message and something we're all working to a get a solution for.”

Another factor is many locals are leaving other companies for higher paying jobs at port facilities. Mirau says it's something everyone will need to work on.

Recruitment and retention is a challenge. It is for the city, smaller businesses, and also for major employers. We'll have to work together to find a collaborative solution.

They say progress is being made and the climate for business is looking up

"I'm amazed at how many people are optimistic for the short term and the long term as well here in Prince Rupert," said Mirau.

"We've had some new business that have started, some entrepreneurs, and are doing quite successfully. You just have to look at our chamber of commerce awards to see that."

The data will be used to help council with policy making in the future.