The second annual business walk, an opportunity for the District of 100 Mile House and Chamber of Commerce to identify trends and concerns of local businesses, occurred on Nov. 29.
“This year we decided to focus the questions a little more on business recovery after the wildfires,” said Joanne Doddridge, director of economic development and planning.
Doddridge put together a group of 20 volunteers who were each assigned businesses and went door-to-door and to check up on 75 businesses in a morning-long blitz to capture the required business information. Last year, they managed to connect with 103 businesses but according to Doddridge, many store owners weren’t available this time around.
The 20 volunteers were able to collect the information needed to determine the trends and concerns of local businesses and is now being compiled and analyzed for a report which will be released in the middle of January. While most of the information is still confidential, Doddridge was able to speak of some of the issues found in general terms.
“There are still challenges over labour shortages and getting back to normal,” she said. “Overall, fairly positive comments from the businesses, in that they are optimistic moving forward they will be able to get back to normal but it is still an ongoing issue.”
One of these positives comments received was in regards to the community willing to shop locally, fostering a hopeful and encouraging atmosphere for local businesses.
Once the report is created, the district puts together a team of business support service providers to help address the concerns raised by the businesses interviewed.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as a business just needing access to a particular program that may be available that could help them, other times it might be a referral of some kind. Sometimes it’s a larger matter only a specific agency could help them with,” said Doddridge.
Christine Gallagher, the chair of the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, as well as a volunteer said many of the certain issues businesses asked help with, the district and chamber are likely to be able to assist with.