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“We’re calling on Strathcona & Chinatown to build a sustainable business they can call their own...” read more.
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“Comments”

We thank the many of you for participating with us in this project. We asked for your comments, and we are getting comments. In these first two weeks, your engagement has led to over 100 comments on our website, has reached out through many emails, and has generated many interesting conversations at 243 Union Street.

Hugh, a local resident in Strathcona, typed up a three-page concept on ultra-convenience stores, rode his bicycle down to This Space, and hand delivered it to us. His plan suggested that we work with the larger supermarket businesses to bring grocery products to the community level at a reasonable cost.

We’re thinking through all your comments and are trying to narrow down what you want most for This Space. Remember, we’re only a 600 square foot space so we can’t be that many things. If you know someone who is interested in starting a small business in Chinatown/Strathcona, we’d be happy to share the comments that we’ve collected. Maybe they can help provide some of the other services that you want.

We’ll be summarizing your comments soon.  For the mean time, keep commenting and spreading the word!  Oh and VOTE!

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Meet The Neighbours – The Board of Trade Co

Welcome to our weekly “Meet The Neighbours” segment. Over the next couple months, follow us as we learn more about other businesses who are working in this area. We believe that small businesses are key elements of any successful neighbourhood. Businesses generate economic resources, provide valuable services, and encourage social activity for an area.

Eunice Quan is a co-owner of the clothing boutique The Board of Trade Co. We wanted to find out what she was about, why she chose to set up shop in Chinatown/Strathcona, and what she thinks of This Space.

You can find Eunice on any given day listening to Hip Hop and slinging clothing at The Board of Trade Co. located at 227 Union Street.

 

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Current Score – Poll #1

It’s a close race under Poll #1. Local Service has taken the lead at 43% versus Restaurant at 41%.

We’ve had strong support for both categories. We think more of both Restaurant and Local Service businesses are needed in this area. But what will win for This Space?

Will it be sushi, tacos or sandwiches if Restaurant wins?
Will it be grocery store, pet store or art gallery if Local Service wins?

Or do you have better suggestions for Restaurant and Local Service?

We need more opinions and votes, please spread the word and ask your neighbours if they’ve voted!

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This Local Service?

Local Service has been the popular vote in recent days, and now ranks slightly ahead of Restaurant to lead Poll #1!

So, what do we consider Local Service?

You have provided different ideas on what Local Service This Space can be: an organic grocery store, general store, hair salon, pharmacy, pet food store, etc. Suggestions have also included ideas that are arts, culture and community-related.

But can we get more creative? We’re getting some interesting ideas on community businesses and rotating pop-ups. Any other thoughts?

Remember, the local service needs to be profitable. This neighbourhood could benefit from many community and cultural services. But This Space is a small private business and needs to cover its costs to make a reasonable profit.

What are the keys to profitability? Is it affordability? Is it attracting a larger market to Union Street? Is it quality? Or, is it increasing awareness? And, is it only certain services that can be profitable in this location?

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This Restaurant?

“Restaurant” is leading in Poll #1, but we’ve heard a few remarks about how small This Space is. At 600 square feet, is This Space too small to be a Restaurant?

It depends. What would you like to eat here? How much seating would keep you comfortable?

Once Poll #1 closes, we’ll be asking you to decide these and other questions.

And we’ll have to address all the plumbing, venting, washroom, access and health requirements to get a restaurant license from the City of Vancouver.

But WAIT, Poll #1 is not over and we want the votes to keep coming. “Restaurant” still leads but has dropped below 40% of votes, and “Local Service” is catching up, now at 36%. Maybe This Space won’t be a Restaurant. Maybe it’ll be a general store, or pet store, or music store, or…

Please vote now! And share this site with your friends.

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Thoughts from Stephen Quinn, CBC Radio One

Stephen Quinn came by Friday morning to interview us for his show “On the Coast” on CBC Radio One.

Stephen was nice enough to let us ask him a few questions too. As a commuter who regularly bikes and walks along Union Street to his office, Stephen had some thoughts about what commuters might want to see on this block.

Watch this video for what he had to say.

To all commuters along Union Street: what business would you slow down for at This Space? Vote now!

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Current Score – Poll #1

We have been overwhelmed so far by the response from neighbours, community and media.

“What type of business do you think belongs at 243 Union Street?” Restaurant is leading the choices at 41%, with Local Service close behind at 33%.

Note: many of the “Other” responses actually fit into the three categories. For example, we consider “grocery” and “art gallery” to be “Local Service”, “wine bar” to be “Restaurant”, and pop-up retail store to be “Retail”.

Remember, Poll #1 is just the beginning. Once you’ve decided on “Restaurant”, “Retail” or “Local Service”, we hope you’ll be ready to vote on the NEXT question.

In the meantime, we need to hear from more people on Poll #1. Vote now!

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Lessons from the Barber

The Barber called on Monday morning. “You have a Ping Pong table…” he challenged.

“Are you good?” I asked in Cantonese. “Come by.”

“I’m good, ” he replied confidently, “but not today. I need to get my own paddle from my house first. Tomorrow.”

“See you then,” I said nervously.

When the Barber showed up the following day, he was instantly critical of our entire setup…our table, paddles, balls, the height of our net…

“Not tournament standard,” he kept grumbling.

“It’s ok though,” he relented, “we’re only playing for fun.”

The Barber was good. He gave us some lessons. And not just in Ping Pong. Watch the video clip for a glimpse of what he had to tell us.

Douglas Lu worked for 10 years at 243 Union Street. He continues to give great haircuts in Chinatown, now around the corner at 436 Main Street.

 

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This is Strathcona

During the first two days of the project, we’ve spoken to many Strathcona residents that have stopped by. Many of you express your excitement and support for This Space. Others are more skeptical. But all opinions are true to Strathcona’s character—strong, thoughtful and diverse.

This character will be showcased this coming Sunday. The This is Strathcona festival will celebrate the neighbourhood and its history at MacLean Park on Heatley Street. We look forward to enjoying the many events of the day—and hope we don’t get lost during the Heritage Scavenger Hunt.

We hope to meet more of you this Sunday!

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Ping Pong Social

Tonight, we’re playing some Ping Pong at This Space. Swing by on your commute home, or stroll by later. Flex your Ping Pong skills and ask us anything.

This Space is located at 243 Union Street. See you tonight.

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    Suggestions? Comments? Think you can help? Contact us at:

    hello@thisspace.ca

    243 Union Street
    Vancouver, BC
    V6A 2B2

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