Vancouver small business leaders eye 2021 with Optimism, CreativityCategory
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For many small business owners, 2020 couldn't end fast enough. It's been a year of uncertainty, piled on top of struggle, heaped with personal challenges and upset — but there have also been successes, perseverance and bright ideas.

There remains plenty of room for optimism for small businesses in Vancouver as we move into 2021 and hopefully edge nearer to the end of this pandemic, a recent webinar panel hosted by Talk Shop discussed. You can view the webinar here.

Panelist Craig Stanghetta, co-owner of Pepinos, Caffe La Tana and Savio Volpe expressed hope for 2021. He says from challenge emerges creative ideas and energy to collaborate.

In particular, Stanghetta told panel moderator and Business in Vancouver reporter, Hayley Woodin, that landlords and small business operators need to see themselves more as partners and should seek to jointly develop lease and space solutions that help small restaurants, shops and other businesses stay afloat.

Stanghetta, also the founder of Ste. Marie design, says he sees a bigger appetite emerging in 2021 for pop-up food and beverage concepts in smaller, flexible spaces offering a stripped down service that is unique, and ever-changing.

2020 has been the year of the pivot, says panelist, Dalana Fleming, the owner of The Cake and the Giraffe bakery. Fleming has spent more than 12 years designing custom wedding cakes and various bespoke sweet treats for special occasions in Vancouver and had to quickly push most of her wedding cake orders into 2021 when the pandemic hit.

To cope, Fleming adjusted to baking single-serving or small batch custom cakes and treats, which became a major part of her business through the summer. She temporarily opened an online store, but her business stream kept her so busy in recent months the need for e-commerce eventually disappeared.

Panelist Tony Vecchio, a founding partner of Slater Vecchio law firm, says his firm has been increasingly focused on helping small businesses to review and understand their insurance policies within the pandemic. He says many small businesses could have policies that protect them from closures or loss of business stemming from COVID-19 interruptions. Some might not know that, and some might be facing uncooperative insurance providers.

Peering into 2021, panelist David Gens, CEO and Founder of leading Canadian fintech company Merchant Growth, says his team is already arranging large sums of capital that they plan to lend into the local market. Gens says government support and financing programs thus far have helped to keep our economy afloat, but we’ll need to find creative ways to keep financing new, bright ideas as government support fades.

Talk Shop Media is excited to host the second version of this webinar in partnership with the Urban Land Institute on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Check back to this space for more information and to register for that event.