Business improving for Abbotsford companies

Two-thirds of locations visited during second Business Walks event report good/improving business.

Politicians including MLA Darryl Plecas and Mayor Henry Braun were among those who spoke to local entrepreneures last fall during the second Business Walks event.

Business was getting better at two-thirds of companies visited during the city’s second Business Walks event last year.

The program saw dozens of volunteers conduct more than 125 short interviews with business owners and managers over three days in late November and early December.

Of the respondents, 67 per cent said business was good/increasing, with another 25 per cent reporting fair/steady business.

Only eight per cent rated the current state of their business as “poor.”

Nearly half of owners and managers said “location” was their top reason for doing business in the city, with “clientele” the second largest reason, according to a new report on the information gathered.

More than a quarter of businesses said they were facing challenges in finding skilled workers.

“The feedback we received from our local businesses is extremely valuable as this helps us identify future opportunities to support our business community,” Mayor Henry Braun said in a news release.

“From the interviews conducted, we have identified 50 businesses that want follow-up support, which is a great opportunity to continue to grow and develop our local business sector.”

The walks focused on businesses in the historic downtown, Peardonville, Wheel Avenue, Maclure industrial, Mount Lehman, Blueridge and Highstreet areas.

Businesses in the Clearbrook/South Fraser Way complained about safety and theft, Highstreet locations sought more skilled workers, and the Blueridge/Mount Lehman area wanted marketing support.

The interviews aimed to connect agencies to businesses, provide a venue for business owners and operators to share key challenges and opportunities with local decision makers, and identify businesses requiring follow-up from Abbotsford’s Economic Development staff.