Revelstoke business retention and expansion study launched

UBC Okanagan co-op student Mark Rossi is the Business Retention & Expansion Survey Project Coordinator for Community Futures Revelstoke. Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Revelstoke Business Information Centre is located next to Pharmasave on Victoria Road in Revelstoke, and hosts several business advocacy organizations like Community Futures Revelstoke, The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce and the City of Revelstoke’s Community Economic Development department.

On Jan. 28 they hosted an open house to share what they do. It also served as a kickoff to the Business Retention and Expansion project. Mark Rossi is a UBC co-op student from the Okanagan who’ll be in town for the next months working to gather information on existing businesses. The idea to gather data that will help the community make better decisions on how to assist and expand existing businesses.

Rossi will be conducting confidential interviews with many businesses across the community to learn about their issues and needs. The information will be gathered and compiled and used for everything from very short-term issues to long-term planning.

To learn more, here is a media release circulated on Jan. 28 that was prepared by organizers of the event:

Revelstoke Business Retention and Expansion project launched

The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Revelstoke, and the City of Revelstoke are spearheading a community economic development project, according to Alan Mason, representative from the City of Revelstoke. The Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) project is designed to stimulate economic development and growth by assisting existing businesses. With the help of a UBC co-op student these three organizations are working in partnership to implement the Revelstoke BRE Project.

“Helping our existing businesses is the primary objective of the project. Other communities have had very good results with BRE projects,” said Judy Goodman of Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce. “Before considering this project we talked to community leaders in several other Columbia Basin and Boundary communities that have used this approach to business retention and expansion. They were very positive about the results,” said Goodman.

Selkirk College’s Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) is supporting communities in BRE implementation through the provision of training for BRE researchers, implementation support materials (BRE manual, confidentiality forms and processes, etc.), access to the online regional e-pulse data management and referral system, and data analysis and report writing support. “The RDI’s mandate is to support informed decision making through the provision of timely and relevant information and applied research.” said Dr. Terri MacDonald, RDI Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development. “With the valuable information collected through community-driven BRE projects in hand, decision makers and economic development practitioners in the region will be well positioned to provide targeted support to our local businesses and to take collection action to improve the overall business climate in our region.

 “A key aspect of this project is confidentiality,” according to Revelstoke’s Local BRE Lead Kevin Dorrius of Community Futures Revelstoke. “We do not publish information on individual businesses. The project is very careful about this confidentiality issue.” The information gathered from the visits is compiled and analyzed by the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute. The Local BRE Lead and Steering Committee review key findings and recommendations and set into motion a plan for follow up action. “One of the reasons for the popularity of the BRE project is that it not only supports long range planning for the community but also yields some short-range tangible results,” said Dorrius.