To say we live in interesting times hardly describes what is going on in our community, or for that matter, in our lives in general. We live in a time of changing retail habits. The online presence of many retailers has challenged the traditional ones. People can and do check online before buying products and if it is cost effective to shop online, they will. Retailers need to constantly be aware of what consumers can obtain their products for through these outlets and respond accordingly.
In Nanaimo, we have seen the demise of Nash Hardware, Fletcher’s, Woodwards, Eatons, Future Shop and most recently, Zellers, to name a few. For the most part these took place during questionable economic times for many reasons, including inability to read the market. Today we have Wholesale Sports and Sears who are leaving not only the community, but in the case of Sears, Canada.
One could look at this and draw all kinds of negative assumptions if it were not for the fact that we are in the best economic position on Vancouver Island in years. The island has been discovered! Our population growth has never been higher. We are seeing an influx of talented people from all parts of Canada, but mostly from the lower mainland as they are able to either afford housing here or they are able to cash out on their property on the lower mainland and have a retirement nest egg, yet reside 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
Construction is at an all-time high. We have 3 new hotels ready to build in Nanaimo with apartments, condos and houses being built at an ever-increasing rate. The vacancy rate in most parts of the city remains at less than 1% with waiting lists to obtain rental accommodation.
What opportunities does this present for you? The tech field here is rapidly expanding and we have seen an increased presence of film projects on the island with the announcement of a film studio in Parksville to attract even more. Staffing has increased at many businesses in order to fill the needs. This bodes well for our young people as they are more likely to find employment and stay in the communities.
I think we live in positive times. We have never had the opportunities that exist in the community as we do today. Do you have to work to find the right ones for you? Of course! That will never change, you always have to do your homework. Make use the resources in the community and find your niche!
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