Aldergrove – Open for Business!

October 2016 Business Walk Summary

Executive Summary

On Wednesday October 26, 2016, the Township of Langley and ABA hosted a Business Walk in Aldergrove, with the purpose of assessing the current business climate in our town. 59 small businesses in two separate business areas (Save on Foods mall area at 264th and downtown core) were canvassed, with 38 businesses participating in the survey.

Four questions were asked:

  • Please rate the current state of your business.
  • What do you like most about doing business in Aldergrove?
  • How can business be improved?
  • What, in particular, can the Aldergrove Business Association do that would be of benefit to your business?

Results indicated that most businesses have a positive outlook regarding doing business in Aldergrove, with an appreciation for the area’s affordability and small town sense of community. Several downtown respondents, however, said that business was slow / poor, and detailed challenges such as area crime, lack of parking, empty or dilapidated surrounding store fronts, etc.

The ABA would like to thank the Township of Langley for partnering on the Business Walk. Over the coming weeks and months, the ABA Board will be using the information gleaned in the survey to look at new and better ways of supporting business in Aldergrove.

Background

On Wednesday October 26, 2016, the Township of Langley and ABA hosted a Business Walk in Aldergrove, with the purpose of assessing the current business climate in our town. Twenty-three people assisted in the walk, including individuals from:

  • ToL Council (Councillors Arnason, Quaale and Whitmarsh)
  • Aldergrove Business Association (ABA)
  • BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
  • Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce
  • Aldergrove Credit Union
  • Royal Bank
  • ToL staff
  • ToL Public Works outside crew

Seven teams were formed from this group, who walked door-to-door to 59 small businesses in two separate business areas within Aldergrove:

  • Area 1 – commercial mall area on Fraser Highway from 262B Street to 264 Street
  • Area 2 – business core on Fraser Highway from 270 to 273 Street

Of these, 38 businesses voluntarily elected to complete the in-person survey with a walk team, while the remaining 21 businesses received business resource pamphlets of information.

The Survey

The following three pre-determined business-related questions, which have been centric to the business walk framework conducted by municipalities across BC, were asked of each participating businesses:

  • Please rate the current state of your business.
  • What do you like most about doing business in Aldergrove?
  • How can business be improved?

A fourth, ABA-initiated question was also asked of all the businesses:

  • What, in particular, can the Aldergrove Business Association do that would be of benefit to your business?

Aggregated Results

The following represents the collated response data gathered from each of the 38 participating businesses. It is important to note that (a) some business owners / managers did not respond to all questions; and (b) where the question provided options, some business owners / managers chose more than one option.

Question 1: Please rate the current state of your business

In total, 86% of respondents within the two business areas collectively provided a positive outlook responding either “Good / Increasing” or “Fair / Steady”. Five businesses or 14% of respondents in Area B (Aldergrove downtown core) said that business was slow / poor.

Question 2: What do you like most about doing business in Aldergrove?

(Note: Some business owners / managers selected more than one option.)

“Location” was identified by the majority of the 38 participating businesses as the primary motivation,” followed equally by “clientele” and “affordability”. Businesses described their consumer base comprised primarily of local residents who were loyal, repeat customers. Some in fact noted a portion of their customer base spans many generations within a family.

Data shows evidence that Aldergrove’s small town sense of community is appreciated. In Area B, however, several downtown core area businesses identified challenges in doing business, and to the extent for one business owner that they may be selling their business due to a number of business-related challenges such as area crime, lack of customer parking, homeless camp proximity, empty surrounding store fronts, etc.

Question 3: How can business be improved?

(Note: Some business owners / managers selected more than one option.)

Crime Reduction is the primary concern among business owners and managers in both Areas A and B. Brazen drug use, theft, and prostitution are said by business owners to be commonplace, day or night, which deters people from shopping and doing business in Aldergrove, and deters potential businesses from establishing themselves here. Participants suggested that a security presence, new industrial-type street lighting and cameras, and stronger law enforcement may have positive impacts on business successes in Aldergrove. Several survey participants in Area B asked the municipality to take action regarding what appears to be a high concentration of crime at the bus loop and in the parking lot of the largely unoccupied Aldergrove Mall, both of which are in the 3200 block of 272 Street.

Visitation & Business Attraction Strategies were seen as opportunities for the Aldergrove Mall site through the concept of a Granville Market-type pedestrian shopping district that could feature local foods and products from businesses located in the Township. Several survey participants suggested that a big box store, such a Walmart, Superstore, etc. is needed in Aldergrove to serve as a shopping anchor in the community. Further, there were several inquiries as to the status of the future of the Aldergrove Mall, and more so given what businesses consider to be its derelict state.

Participants from both Areas A and B suggested their businesses would benefit by increased advertising and community awareness of the advantages that Aldergrove has to offer, residential and commercial growth, business diversification, and traffic flow improvements to ease congestion and reduce speed. Further, with the new, Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre planned for opening within the next two years, there is an opportunity to entice business attraction now through strategic planning so that the business core as a whole thrives and contributes substantively to the local economy.

Parking Capacity for customers was identified by survey respondents in Area B as a deterrent. Nine respondents said that there is insufficient parking inventory, that stalls are being converted into bus stops, although there is no additional bus services, that stalls are too far from storefronts, and there is a lack of parking stalls and curb letdown areas for customers / persons with disabilities.

Vehicular Traffic Speed was identified as a concern by many business owners in in Area B. Participants said that speed limit signs are not highly visible, that speed limits are not adhered to and to the extent that there are concerns for pedestrian safety, and that speed limits are not enforced. Participants noted a high volume of semi/truck traffic using the Fraser Highway business core segment, which they see as a deterrent to customers considering Aldergrove for their goods and services purchases.

Streetscape Improvements were recommended by five respondents in order to maintain a general positive appearance of the Aldergrove streetscape and consequently improve it, specifically the storefronts and signage in Area B. Seasonal beautification projects, such as Christmas lights in November / December, and flower baskets in the spring/summer were suggested as small yet notable improvement recommendations for the area.

Question 4: What, in particular, can the Aldergrove Business Association do that would be of benefit to your business?

Amongst the 38 business respondents, an array of suggestions were offered through the business walk survey to the ABA including advocacy for parking improvements, area marketing including “Buy Local” activities, crime reduction activities, raising awareness with businesses about the organization, meeting with Aldergrove business owners when convenient for them, creating networking and partnership opportunities, and streetscape improvement activities.

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Aldergrove Business Association
2941 272nd Street
Aldergrove, BC
V4W 3R3
Tel: 604.381.2100