It’s time we stick up for small businesses — in a big way

Walk downtown and you will see empty stores and empty lots, waiting for the next entrepreneur to take the plunge and start a business. Some might say we just don’t have the market for small businesses, but that’s bologna. It’s a big part of why Port Hardy thrived in the past, and it’s time we brought that back.

Handling a small town economy is tricky, we get it. Every little tweak in town council’s business policy may have a huge impact for local business owners. That’s not to say that we can’t do something bold. With the right course of action, planning and follow through, Port Hardy’s small businesses may even start booming again. We can’t idle any longer for small business owners — after all, these are the people we know in town with families. It means food on the table. It’s not just some Joe Shmoe down on his luck, and let’s remember that. What we need now is for council to step up and lead the way. There’s many simple ways to do it, too.

Take for example reduced rental rates. The most expensive part of running a shop, most small business owners might say, is the rent. Let’s say we put in a policy saying that all district-owned buildings are available to rent at half the cost of the real estate company’s price. We’d then have strong incentive for entrepreneurs to open up more businesses and take more chances. Or perhaps council could streamline the process of getting a business license. There are many ways, and these are just some of them.

Thomas Kervin

Port Hardy