COQUITLAM, B.C., June 23, 2020 – Coquitlam is dedicating $25,000 in preliminary funding to help local businesses re-open or expand during the pandemic.
Last night, Council voted to fund a series of planned activities in the City’s Economic Development COVID-19 Response and Recovery Action Plan intended to support local businesses struggling due to the pandemic. Based on input from Coquitlam businesses, the projects will raise awareness that businesses are safely operating and connect local shoppers with establishments that are open physically or online.
Supporting Businesses as They Reopen
The action plan activities, to be rolled out over the next three to four months, are meant to support Coquitlam businesses through the next phase of BC’s Restart Plan. The funding will be used to:
- Promote awareness of businesses that have set up temporary patio and outdoor retail spaces through the City’s new program;
- Conduct and analyze local consumer research (https://bit.ly/CQShoppingSurvey until June 30) to help businesses better understand how to encourage customers to return during the pandemic;
- Highlight and promote local businesses through a 75 Days of Summer campaign;
- Encourage business participation in the City’s Canada Day festivities and Summer Concert Series; and
- Support additional new opportunities and initiatives that may arise over the summer.
The costs will be funded through the City’s Economic Development Reserve Fund. Staff will monitor the impact of the projects over the coming months and refine the action plan as needed.
The initiatives align with the Coquitlam’s broader multi-sector COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP) along with the City’s other efforts to support businesses, including comprehensive information about business opportunities and resources at www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca/business.
Activities Driven by Data
The new business supports are based on valuable insights the City has gathered from more than 500 local businesses through direct outreach in person and by phone and email, as well as a business survey.
The survey received over 150 responses from food and beverage, retail and other businesses from May 5 to June 5 and reflects what staff heard during their outreach activities. The respondents, which included roughly an equal mix of newer and established businesses, reported the following:
- 83 per cent continued to operate in some manner during Phase 1 of B.C.’s Restart Plan;
- Of the 17 per cent that were closed, more than half indicated they could reopen when regulations were lifted;
- 83 per cent lost revenue during Stage 1, of which about a quarter lost less than 15 per cent and another quarter lost more than 76 per cent;
- 34 per cent pinpointed financial matters (payroll, rent and financing options) as their top issue, while 11 per cent noted problems accessing labour and supplies;
- Other key impacts included being unable to operate due to a lack of customers, difficulty making decisions due to the economic uncertainty, and challenges with transitioning to an online business model.
Communication, marketing and informing the public that they are open were flagged as key challenges. Overall, businesses are feeling cautiously optimistic about reopening, although concerned about whether customers will return.
Join Coquitlam’s Efforts to #SupportLocal
The City of Coquitlam has joined the Tri-Cities #SupportLocal campaign to assist local businesses, many of which are struggling at this time. Coquitlam also strongly encourages residents to #SupportLocal for their shopping and meals; view business listings at www.wegotthistricities.com and www.visitcoquitlam.ca for a directory of 150+ Coquitlam restaurants offering takeout, dine-in and delivery.
See also our video to learn more about how you can support our local businesses.
Supporting Our Community During the Pandemic
The City of Coquitlam is here to help, with these resources:
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/csrp to learn about the City’s Community Support and Recovery Plan, which is providing immediate and long-term support for the non-profit sector, businesses and residents;
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/spirit for a free library of activities for all ages, including fitness, arts and culture, outdoor activities and ways to connect with your community; and
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/covid19 for updates on City services and initiatives and COVID-19 health resources.
Coquitlam residents and businesses are also encouraged to follow the City of Coquitlam on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and download the CoquitlamConnect mobile app for up-to-date City information.