February 2024 Newsletter - ADBIA

February 2024 Newsletter

February 20, 2024

A message from the ADBIA Executive Director

My name is Maureen O’Brien and I was fortunate enough to be appointed Executive Director of the ADBIA almost four years ago, just a few days before the pandemic hit.

The first couple of years in my role was all about helping our businesses keep their doors open. The community supported shop and eat local initiatives and most all of our businesses survived. We offered incentives like BIA Bucks to encourage visiting local businesses and enhanced our shopping areas with murals, lights, outdoor patio space and other beautification projects. On behalf of our businesses in Ambleside and Dundarave, thank you for the support throughout the pandemic.

Small businesses account for the majority of our commercial base, employ hundreds of individuals, and are the backbone of our local economy. While many of our businesses survived the restrictions implemented during the pandemic, they are still in recovery mode. With government assistance loans now due, rising inflation in food costs, labour and supply chain issues, it is crucial to continue to support our shops and services to ensure a thriving business area.

Small Businesses Face Challenges

Aside from inflation, our businesses face the challenges of high lease rates with many of our older buildings requiring more maintenance which increases their operational costs, passed on down to the retail business. We’ve also seen a rise in shoplifting, making a big impact on the bottom line for our retailers. While big box stores and chains are better positioned to negotiate rising expenses, small businesses are left feeling the brunt of rising costs.

Over the past few years, many of us have grown accustomed to the convenience of online shopping. For retail stores to transition to a mix of online and physical sales involves more than just launching a website. It requires a change in how a business operates, including technology upgrades which means significant time and money. This is an expensive investment for a small business.

Walk the Talk

We hear from residents all the time about how disappointed they are to see a business close or a rumour that one might be leaving. If we want to keep our local hardware store, restaurant, framing store, bakery, or barbershop, we need to ensure we are supporting them and encouraging others to do so as well. It’s too late once they’ve closed.

Overwhelmingly, people say they want to support local. In a recent Canadian survey, 92% of Canadians said they love having small businesses in their community but only 13% do most of their shopping at small business. The bulk of their shopping is done at big box stores, shopping malls, or online.

Here are five simple ways you can help small businesses remain a part of our community:

  • Support your favourite neighbourhood business.
  • Once a month, choose a new local business to support.
  • Share positive reviews on Google or Yelp.
  • Buy gift cards/certificates direct from your local retailer.
  • Follow them on social media and share their posts.

These solutions all come down to one thing: valuing connection over transaction. There is a clear desire for people to connect with and support small, neighbourhood businesses. A slight change in where and how you shop will have a big impact on a small business.

Looking Ahead

It is important to create a space that allows for the enjoyment of shopping in an area, which is why the ADBIA has invested in our commercial area.

We have commissioned six murals in Ambleside, had the boardwalk and vintage phone boxes installed in Dundarave, completed sidewalk repairs in high traffic areas of Ambleside, resurrected the Dundarave Hoedown, illuminated trees in the business corridor, created a beautification fund for retail level businesses, cleaned and power washed laneways, and organized community clean ups.

We work closely with District staff to help new businesses retain permits, meet code requirements, and to ensure they are within the zoning regulations. It is a major investment for a new business to open, often taking months to finalize the permitting process, all the while paying for a lease but not yet generating any income. We will attract new retailers to Ambleside and Dundarave if our businesses are supported by the local community as this creates a vibrant, busy, economically successful business area; vibrancy breeds vibrancy!

The ADBIA is committed to continuing to support our local businesses, to ensure we retain the ones we have, and curate new ones that will enhance our community. If you would like to keep up to date on business comings and goings, marketing initiatives, and events, please sign up for the ADBIA Newsletter – www.adbia.ca – It Takes a Village to Make a Village!

BIA Bucks are Back!

March is around the corner and that means it is time for BIA Bucks! Back for the third year, BIA Bucks boosts the economy of our local businesses during what is traditionally a quiet time of year.

Look for your bucks in the mail after February 27th. They will be valid from March 1st to April 15th and accepted at participating businesses in Ambleside and Dundarave (a full list of participating businesses will be posted on our website once the program has launched). Watch for updates on our social media platforms.

Bucks will be delivered via Canada Post to all homes and businesses. Please note that Canada Post can only deliver BIA Bucks to residents that choose to receive unsolicited mail. If you currently do not receive “junk mail” but want to ensure you receive our BIA Bucks, please contact Canada Post to restart delivery of unaddressed advertisement mail. Call Customer Service at 1-800-267-1177 to initiate the request.

We encourage you to Shop Local, support your favourite shops and services and discover new ones!


Community Clean Up

The ADBIA has engaged the services of the not for profit organization, Mission Possible, to help us clean up our streets and sidewalks from litter. They work with several BIA’s in the Lower Mainland, including the City of Vancouver, and we are pleased to have them join forces with the ADBIA.

Through their Employment Readiness Program, Mission Possible transforms lives by helping people experience a renewed sense of dignity and purpose.

They will begin on Wednesday February 7th and continue on the first Wednesday of each month, working in sections of Ambleside and Dundarave. If you see them, say hello and please thank them for helping make our community beautiful.

Comings and Goings

We welcome some new businesses to our community!

  • The new French bistro mentioned in our last newsletter is now officially open! Mèreon can be found at 1479 Clyde Avenue and their current hours are 8am – 3pm. Stop by for a fabulous breakfast or lunch!
  • Miraas Persian Restaurant & Bar is open in the former Handi Indian Restaurant. Located at 1579 Bellevue, they have redecorated and opened up the windows to showcase their new look.
  • The Latest Scoop has had their lease extended until the end of February. We are still hopeful we can find them a home in West Vancouver as we don’t want to lose this gem!
  • For those of you with kids, we have a new math tutoring school in Ambleside. Mathnasium – The Math Learning Centre has opened at 1441 Clyde Avenue. Registration is now open for classes.
  • The sales centre for Pierwell in Dundarave should be ready to open by mid-March. We are confident these 36 residences will be sold quickly and construction can begin so that we can welcome new businesses – and residents – into Dundarave.
  • As noted above, Handi Indian Restaurant has permanently closed.

A Christmas Story

I often visit other communities to get ideas or inspiration of what I think might benefit our businesses in Ambleside and Dundarave. A few months ago, I was having coffee with someone, and we were talking about how lovely it is in Fort Langley and I said to her that someday I hoped there would be a couple of women sitting around a coffee shop in Fort Langley saying how they wished that they were more like West Van!

Over the holidays, I went to Fort Langley to see what they had done for Christmas this year. I was speaking with the owner of one of the shops and mentioned that I lived on the North Shore. She asked if I had been to West Vancouver lately and continued on by saying she was there over the weekend with a friend. They were headed to Park Royal, but traffic was backed up on Taylor Way, so she exited at 15th and drove down to Marine.

She then said that as they approached Marine Drive, they were both taken aback with the lights on the trees lining the street and the 30′ Christmas tree by the water. They ended up going to see the tree, shopping in Ambleside, and having dinner at at a local restaurant. She finished by asking me “When did West Vancouver become so much like Fort Langley?” 🙂

We are on our way to revitalizing our commercial area; let’s keep on working together to make West Vancouver a shopping, dining, and beautiful destination for all!