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.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1273655

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Page 9 of 79

10 BCBUSINESS JULY/AUGUST 2020 PORTRAIT: ADAM BLASBERG M y wife and I took a chance in June, and we have no regrets. With two other couples, we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant where it turned out that the best thing on offer wasn't the mushroom- and-truffle-oil pizza. It was the joy of eating with friends again (in our own corner of the sparsely populated room) after months of near- isolation—and seeing how thrilled our masked servers were to be working again. Maybe you've plunged back into the world, too, as B.C. continues to restart its economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to strong planning and clear communication by the health authorities, people's willingness to heed medical experts and probably a little luck, this province has suffered relatively few coronavi- rus deaths. As a result, it feels better positioned than many other places to return to some sem- blance of normal life. But for those businesses that have survived COVID, chances are it's changed how they do things—perhaps forever. That's why we decided to forgo our traditional July/August cover story, the Top 100 ranking of the province's biggest companies by revenue, for "B.C. 2.0" (p.23). In this feature, Nathan Cad- dell, Alyssa Hirose and I talk to play- ers from nine industries about what the outbreak has brought them. For some, COVID has generated more business; for others, it's created daunting challenges. But across the board, we came away impressed by the resilience, ingenuity and adapt- ability that local companies have shown during this crisis. The B.C. 2.0 theme continues in "State of Shop" (p.36), Frances Bula's exploration of how retailers are cop- ing with the pandemic and preparing for tomorrow. As she points out, B.C.'s wealth of self-reliant entrepreneurs could put our retail sector on a stron- ger footing than its counterparts in other provinces. Then there's "Glass Half Full" (p.46) by Charlene Rooke, who, like Bula, began work on her story before the province went into lock- down. Rooke, a WSET-certified spirits and wine educator who also serves as drinks editor of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's Food & Drink magazine, uses her expertise to take us on a forward-looking tour of B.C.'s evolving wine industry. Of course, on page 55 you'll still find the Top 100. Peter Mitham's latest edition of the annual ranking is a snapshot of the pre- COVID world, with companies needing just below $400 mil- lion in revenue to get in the door. Depending on what happens over the next several months, the list could look quite different next year. In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones stay healthy. And if you haven't already done so, I hope you get out for dinner soon. Nick Rockel, Editor-in-Chief bcb@canadawide.com / @BCBusiness ( editor's desk ) As B.C. embraces a new normal, we check in on the state of work, with an eye to the future I N S E P T E M B E R Brave New Worlds C ON T R I B U T OR S Frances Bula was 1,000 words into writing "State of Shop" (p.36) when the subject of her enquiry–retailers–shut down en masse. "What I was mostly struck by was how resilient they were through it all," recalls the Vancouver-based recipient of the 2019 Jack Webster Award for Best Breaking News Reporting (Print/Online). "I don't know how more of them didn't just say, We give up—we're out. But really, the ones who have bailed so far seem to have been the places that felt like they weren't making it already." Vancouver photographer Tanya Goehring had no plans to take much of a break after her second baby was born at the end of January, but then the pandemic hit. "I was able to spend a lot more time with my little guy–an unexpected silver lining," she says. Goehring nonetheless took on the job of shooting retailers Blaine McNamee and Caroline Boquist for "State of Shop" (p.36) this spring.

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