July/August 2020 – Facing the Music

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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offshore money for luxury goods," he said. "A lot of it is the exchange rate for U.S. dol- lars for the cruise-ship traffic. Retail is not going away." SOMETHING EXTRA From main-street boutiques to interna- tional chains, the brick-and-mortar players in today's vast retail ecosystem have one thing in common: they need people to want to buy their stuff. It used to be that just hav- ing a wide selection of products available in a physical space in a reasonably well- trafficked cluster was enough. Not now. "You have to offer something you can't get at Amazon: good price, luxury or exclu- sive," says Stefan Read, vice-president, engagements, at Toronto-based Jackman Reinvents, a management consulting com- pany. The extras can also be the specialized help and knowledge of staff, the conve- nience or the uniqueness of the product. But there has to be something more than just things on shelves and racks. The something extra is what big, suc- cessful retailers plot strategically, figuring out the place on the checkerboard that isn't occupied yet. But the smallest of shop owners can use the same techniques, and do. Throughout B.C., all kinds of indepen- dents attract dedicated followers by provid- ing specialized service, curated goods, an experience, the virtuous pleasure of shop- ping locally. In every one of Vancouver's commercial districts—even those with the highest vacancy rates, like beleaguered West 10th—there are shops defying conven- tional wisdom. On Cambie Street, Caroline Boquist's Walrus is beloved by many for its eso- APRIL 2020 JULY/AUGUST 2020 BCBUSINESS 39 BCBUSINESS.CA OUT OF POCKET Before the pandemic, Vancouver's soaring property taxes were already making life difficult for Walrus co- owner Caroline Boquist

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