Castlegar’s first ever Business Walk took place on Tuesday, May 17.
Representatives from the Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce, the City of Castlegar, Community Futures Central Kootenay and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and other volunteers visited businesses in the community, asking for feedback on doing business in the city.
Of the 235 businesses in the targeted area, 97 completed surveys on Tuesday — walkers didn’t necessarily make it to every business, and some business owners or managers weren’t available.
Those business people surveyed generally reported that business was good and felt that generally Castlegar was a good place to do business.
They were also happy about the Selkirk College trades program, but some businesses reported having problems finding enough skilled workers. Some businesses also lamented their number of customers and the size of Castlegar’s population. Restaurateurs expressed a specific desire to see more tourists staying over night, a sentiment echoed by other businesses. Destination Castlegar, under the Chamber of Commerce recently hired Andrea Ryman to run the Destination Castlegar campaign and address this very problem.
Downtown businesses also expressed concerns regarding the number of empty businesses downtown. Chamber executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk said that the Chamber has been working with downtown businesses on a revitalization of the downtown core, so hopefully a solution can be found.
Business owners were also interested in additional training opportunities, which could potentially be offered by organizations involved with the Business Walk. There was a desire to see training on marketing and social media, as well as how to handle collections for service providers.
The results of the Business Walk survey will be posted to the Chamber’s website by September 2016, once everything has been compiled.
Businesses that did not receive a visit, but would like to contribute ideas or complete a survey, can contact Tammy Verigin-Burk at 250-365-6313.