It is unfortunate that Courier journalist Mr. Mcdonald elected to not do any fact checking before he wrote his article regarding the departure of Equinox Gallery. His phone call to the South Granville BIA began with an assumption that businesses were leaving the neighbourhood in droves. In spite of us advising him otherwise, he had obviously written the article in his head and was not interested in adjusting his story for the sake of the facts. Does the Courier view this as good journalism?
These are the facts:
- From September 2007 to August 2008 – South Granville lost 26/183 retail businesses
- From September 2011 to July 1 2012 – we lost 18/183 – out of the 18, 16 were what I consider ‘independents’.
- 2007-2008 was probably the worst year for turnover since 2000, when the SGBIA began collecting data. On average, we see about 10% of businesses leave for a variety of reason – retirement, bad management, global economic pressures, changing demographics or styles, or the business model simply no longer fits the neighbourhood (another way of saying the business has not grown sufficiently over the course of its lease to absorb new market rental rates)
- We currently have 11 shops for lease or just over 6% According to commercial real estate experts, that is considered healthy.
- In 2007 South Granville had 17 art galleries
- As of September 2012, we will have 15. While I have huge admiration for Andy Sylvester and his gallery it is also true that Equinox Gallery has never participated or responded to any neighbourhood initiative in 12 years. I find his endearment to the neighbourhood a little perplexing. As an example, Equinox chose not to participate in the most recent June 23 ArtWalk involving 15 galleries which your newspaper enthusiastically promoted. Some galleries reported 800 people through their galleries in 7 hours.
Additional information: excluding banks…
- In 2007, South Granville had 43 National Chains (multi province or international )
- In 2012, SG has 43 National Chains—5 of them located north of Broadway. In 2007 there were 4.
In most cases, our current national chains have replaced other national chains: Urban Planet was replaced by Anthropologie, Shopper’s replaced Chevron/7-11, UGG replaced La Senza, Eileen Fisher replaced Aldo. Social Media feedback would suggest these were all welcomed improvements.
The #1 store search on our website—Anthropologie. I assume that West Elm will be a similar sort of draw for the neighbourhood. Are high profile ‘destination nationals’ good for neighbourhood profile and walk by traffic—you be the judge. These nationals locate themselves carefully and bring with them huge marketing budgets. The spin off opportunity for savvy independents is beyond anything they could afford on their own. Would we prefer our customers get in their car and cross the border to experience these high profile stores rather than embrace and leverage their arrival?
All reports I am getting indicate that lease rates have pulled back due to global economic realities. Property taxes have not, and we continue to fight that battle of inequity on behalf of our merchants.
Make no mistake, the cost of doing business in South Granville is very high and it requires talent, attention to every detail and nerves of steel to make a go of it. I am pleased to report that the neighbourhood has many such talented ‘stars’ as I like to call them.
Sometimes perception is not reality. By all indications, South Granville continues to flourish and be considered some of the best shopping in the city regardless of what poor journalism and anecdotal evidence indicates.
South Granville BIA
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Vancouver Courier article published June 29, 2012
Art gallery moves east after 25 years
Rents rising in Vancouver neighbourhood
By Will McDonald, Contributing writer
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