Looking back on my first year as Executive Director with the Stony Plain Road & Area Business Improvement Area, I can see how my position afforded me opportunities to learn, discover, and struggle under the filter of COVID-19. Edmonton businesses are very aware of the ups and downs of our resource-based economy. However, we have been very blessed during this time, and I would like to thank you for your support of our businesses.
When you support local businesses, for every $100 spent, $63 is re-circulated back into their economies (source: BCbuylocal.com). This money stays within our communities to pay staff, and support suppliers and other businesses that accompany the products and services.
This summer we ran several social media campaigns to promote retail, restaurants, and services from businesses on Stony Plain Road. We have also been gathering information to better understand current perceptions of Stony Plain Road & Area. A few illuminations have come forward that I would like to share with you.
- Many people have a very outdated perception of the diversity of businesses within our Business Improvement Area.
- Others are unaware of the services and businesses that are within the 30-plus block radius of our BIA.
- There is a lower level of connectedness and sense of community among business owners.
- There seems to be a lack of collective pride within our area.
This is a good place to start. In order to develop lasting connections and to create a successful Main Street business area, it is vital that we understand what our community assets are. We need to identify where our deficiencies are, and develop strategies to develop our strengths. As well, we need to grow greater community resilience for the times that we are struggling, so that businesses, agencies, and residents all can come together to build a stronger community.
Jasper Place has a significant history as an independent community and as a vital commercial district within the greater Edmonton region. There are numerous businesses that have existed and thrived along Stony Plain Road for many years, and this area is prime for redevelopment and new businesses. In fact, within the last five months we have seen 20 new businesses open in our area. We have also seen some familiar and long-time businesses close. We will continue to monitor this development. Please know that Stony Plain Road offers a wonderful opportunity to start a new business with affordable lease rates and great access. There is free and accessible parking, and over 30,000 residents directly within a few blocks to support businesses.
As buildings are being demolished and roadwork is being done to create space for the upcoming West Valley Line LRT, transformation will continue and our BIA will strive to keep you informed. We will also create opportunities and programs to build loyalty, create habits, and profile our Business Improvement Area as a desirable place to shop, visit, and obtain great services. We are going to create a Main Street in which you can have pride, where it feels even more comfortable and authentic, and where you will want to bring friends over to explore the positive nature of Stony Plain Road.
Todd Janes is the Executive Director of the Stony Plain Road and Area BIA. You can contact him at 780-477-5169 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.