Local businesses in Port Credit need our support now more than ever
John and Matina, The Crooked Cue
It’s been a rough year, Mississauga.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had drastic effects for all of us. Few know this quite as well as small business owners, who have been struggling to make ends meet while being forced to shut their doors during two separate shutdowns.
The raw and honest truth: Behind every small store and restaurant is a person or family in dire need of help. The second shutdown has had serious effects on all of the city’s businesses, and many won’t survive another lockdown. Several have already been forced to shut down.
Louie Manzo, owner of CABIN - a men’s shop on Lakeshore offering old school, full service, barber services, unique manly grooming products and accessories, and housing an in-store humidor.
It’s for these reasons that the Port Credit BIA is launching its Businesses Are People campaign, to bring more awareness to the issue and call for support - from residents and from all levels of government - so the businesses we love and rely on can pull through these tough times.
The BIA also spoke with a number of business owners in Port Credit to hear more about the challenges they’re facing.
“COVID Is like getting kicked in the gut for a small business and we can’t do it alone,” said Caroline Augustin, owner of Port Credit’s Blueheel Dance Studio, where talented dance instructors get your feet moving to the rhythms of Latin and ballroom dance, sexy salsa, lively swing, and more.
Caroline Augustin, Blueheel Dance Studio
The owner of NourishMoi, a trendy vegan restaurant featuring a wide array of salads, bowls, sandwiches, burgers, smoothies, and brunch options, said they couldn’t keep up with restaurants in opened parts of the province.
“Customers are just driving five minutes into Oakville and dining in. I can’t compete with that,” said Rita Haddad.
Rita Haddad, Nourishmoi
So what can residents do to help support small business in Port Credit?
With the province finally announcing that it will allow Mississauga to reopen again on Saturday, November 7, there’s no better time to visit these businesses and enjoy some indoor shopping or dining. Not only can they use the support, but they’ll appreciate being able to see their customers in person again after so long.
“We are coming up to our eight year anniversary of being here in Port Credit,” said Sandy Pretty, owner of My Olive - a boutique tasting room that offers over fifty varieties of ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils from around the world, including flavoured olive oils, traditional Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy and infused Balsamic vinegar.
Sandy Pretty - My Olive Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Tasting Bar
Another great option is to purchase a Support The Port gift card, which can be used at all participating businesses in Port Credit (more info and a list of participating businesses can be found at supporttheport.ca).
Support The Port was the first Port Credit BIA initiative launched to help its businesses and The Compass Foodbank during the first lockdown. With help from their partners Brightwater, Edenshaw, Port Credit Community Foundations, and Colourfast they were able to contribute $20,000 for the cause.
Alternatively, if you can’t visit for indoor dining just yet, you can still support restaurants by ordering takeout or food delivery.
“We’ve done everything we can to support our neighbours… from ordering food from the restaurants, to just being a good source of word of mouth. We are all we have right now,” said Wassim Alroz of Cloth Talk, a custom menswear company specializing in suits, sport jackets, dress trousers and accessories.
Wassim Alroz - Cloth Talk
Old Credit Brewing Company - a family-run business and one of Ontario’s first micro-breweries producing some of the finest beer in the province - says everything is really “up in the air”.
“One day you are serving customers, the next you may be cleaning out the tanks. That’s just the nature of small business,” said Brandon Lista, whose grandparents own Old Credit Brewing.
Brandon Lista - Old Credit Brewing Company
Since businesses need a lot more help to make it through this difficult situation, Port Credit BIA called on all three levels of government during a virtual town hall on October 23 to increase support in the following ways:
- Wage Subsidy: Restore wage subsidy to previous version. $847 max per week (preferably higher). The first 75% (preferably higher) of the wage paid by the government, and the business tops up if able to. Alternatively, wage subsidy of the actual 2019 earnings of staff and owners - no maximum.
- Loan Principal Payment Deferral: At least 6 month deferral of principal payments on business loans and personal loans. Federal legislation and communication to the major banks must be done for this.
- Rent Subsidy: Reinstate the rent subsidy immediately for 75% (preferably higher) for affected closed businesses.
- Insurance Premiums: Insurance rates have increased well over 25% when business has declined over 50%.
- Fixed Costs: Property taxes should be waived for the duration of closures. Hydro charges should be waived for the duration of closures. Help with lease payments.
- Plan for Reopening Businesses: Be honest and forthright as to the number of Covid Cases threshold that needs to be met for reopening so that business owners can plan ahead. Give us a target.
- A grant for businesses: Businesses should be able to receive a grant so that they can reopen with inventories that were lost due to the rapid closure announcement.
City of Mississauga:
- Extend the patios through the winter.
- Allow tents outside with heaters for patios in winter.
- Free parking.
- Encourage By Law to Educate and take more informal route instead of heavy enforcement
- Have city leader advocate to open our Restaurants immediately since no stats support the closure
Port Credit BIA also plans to host a virtual town hall with the federal government on Tuesday, November 10 to continue advocating for more small business support.
Outside of the shutdowns, Port Credit’s main street is full of energy and lively entertainment, featuring cafes, bars, restaurants and an emerging arts scene, events, and beautification - and will be again when businesses reopen, reestablishing itself as one of the city’s most unique and artistic tourist destinations.
“We chose Port Credit because we were looking for a space where families could come and really experience the arts together,” said Lindsay Duncan of Port Credit’s School of Creative Arts, which offers a variety of unique classes for dance, fitness, and even parkour.
Lindsay Duncan and Krystal Ferguson, The School of Creative Arts
A similar sentiment was shared by Julia Chatterji, owner of The Studio Paint Bar: A first-of-its-kind paint and wine bar where you can enjoy a drink while browsing or creating artwork.
“We are designed to make art accessible for everyone. That’s our passion,” said Chatterji.
Julia Chatterji - The Studio Paint Bar
Want to learn more Port Credit’s community involvement and how you can support the Urban Village by Mississauga’s lakefront? Visit portcredit.com for more information, and follow Port Credit BIA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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