New from the BIA
Congratulations to Glebe Spree winner Sylvie Reichert and her family
Over the past three years, the BIA’s Glebe-Spree holiday promotion has been attracting more participants from the Glebe and other neighbourhoods. Part of the interest has been generated by the promise of Glebe Spree draw and the lucrative $10,000 prize to be spent in Glebe stores. The 2013 prize was awarded to Sylvie Reichert and her family. In addition, recent events such as the Winterlude snowboarding Rail Jam at Glebe Avenue and Bank Street bring a different demographic into the Glebe. Similarly, Glebe BIA programming will include as-yet -to be- decided Tulip Festival activities, extending the reach of Glebe businesses by welcoming both Ottawa residents and tourists to our streets.
Meet Andrew Peck, the new Glebe BIA executive director
By Carol MacLeod
Andrew Peck is the Glebe Business Improvement Area’s newly minted executive director. On December 9, he started his job in the Business Improvement Area (BIA) office, overlooking Bank Street at the end of the second floor hall in the block between Fifth and Thornton.
Prior to December, Andrew Peck headed the Enterprise Centre at the Argyle Street Y. In partnership with the Province of Ontario, that program offers self-employment and business development seminars and workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs, stressing skills such as business fundamentals, market analysis, marketing strategy, teambuilding and Internet and technology, and providing entrepreneurs with opportunities to meet community leaders and established entrepreneurs. As well, Peck has for many years run his own marketing company and various small businesses. These hands-on experiences will serve him well in his new challenge.
BIA membership is about 300 property owners, merchants and services situated in a T-shaped area along Chamberlain/Isabella and down Bank Street to the canal bridge. Soon it will include the stores at Lansdowne. Peck’s current focus is getting to know all these members to ascertain their needs and understand their issues. He wants to be well connected to the BIA membership.
Together with the BIA board, Peck is developing a strategic plan to preserve the authenticity of the neighbourhood as well as promote the commercial area both as the premier street-front shopping district in Ottawa and as a tourist destination. One priority is beautifying Bank Street and making sure it is safe and clean. Several key storefronts are, or are soon to be, vacant. He expects the consultant’s report on “branding” the Glebe shopping area, available in mid-February, to be useful in attracting tenants.
Peck maintains that all business is local, in that for the most part shoppers want to be no more than 10 minutes from a shopping destination by whatever mode of transport. Malls providing shopping convenience are a challenge to street-side merchants. While he thinks businesses go through cycles, he recognizes that the last few years have been particularly challenging for Glebe businesses. He knows that Glebe merchants appreciate the fierce loyalty of residents but maintains that to thrive, they need to attract shoppers from beyond the community too. He believes that implementing an effective strategic plan and marketing is key to reversing fortunes. To attract and keep shoppers from outside the Glebe, he realizes that shops have to be unique.
Among the local people with whom he has talked so far, he gets the impression that there is general agreement that Lansdowne needs to work. Lansdowne will bring people to the neighbourhood, and the BIA would like to find ways to encourage them to stay longer. However, it is important to respect views not just of the merchants but also of the community at large. Together the BIA and the community need to look at Lansdowne, and particularly the park, for opportunities for neighbourhood/ BIA collaboration. He feels the BIA can move forward with its neighbourhood community in the context of its mandate by being true to the authenticity of the Glebe, by strengthening what the Glebe already is and making it better known.
Andrew Peck sees the residents as the BIA’s best marketing tool. “When you love where you live,” he says, “you want to tell the world.” He thinks it makes good business sense to make sure residents feel they have a stake in a healthy Bank Street. He also thinks the BIA should lead the business community in being active in the community. He plans to open dialogue with community groups including the Glebe Community Association and the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group, which he sees as partners. His approach is to focus on areas of agreement and then discuss other issues.
Peck grew up in Victoria-by-the-Sea in Prince Edward Island, and the house in Wakefield in which he and his family now live backs onto the Gatineau Park. He likes being close to the outdoors. He enjoys the sense of pride such tight-knit communities have. He sees the Glebe, with its older houses and well-treed streets, as a small community in a larger city. He hopes to become well connected to Glebe residents and plans to do so by walking Bank Street.
Carol MacLeod, a Glebe resident of many years, has been an active participant in numerous community organizations.