Nearly 60 West End businesses shuttered during pandemic: report

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A new report shows how much the pandemic has stunted economic progress in the West End.

Data from the West End Biz shows business closures have brought growth in the neighbourhood back down to 2015 levels.

The area has lost nearly 60 businesses since the start of the pandemic.

The West End Biz said neighbourhoods of the West End saw a growth in business population from 855 in 2015 to 922 at the beginning of the pandemic. This growth was stymied during the pandemic, with the total business population dropping to 864.

The organization said commercial and industrial vacancy rose by over 30 per cent at the beginning of 2020 to 4.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2021.

The Biz added it's not just business owners who are suffering.

"Businesses are the lifeblood of the community,” Joe Kornelsen, executive director of the West End Biz told CTV News Winnipeg.

“Businesses have the products, the goods and services, the things that keep a community going, and when we see so many closures and so few openings to replace those closures, we’re seeing hardship for the community overall."

However, the organization said it’s not all doom and gloom. The report indicates pre-pandemic interest in the neighbourhood is expected to return.

Kornelsen also noted the neighbourhood saw an increase in grocery stores, plus over $100 million invested in residential and commercial property in the area over the last five years.