Independents Thriving on Granville – Pt1

This article is part of a series of case studies produced by LOCO for the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area (DVBIA). We have been working with the DVBIA since December 2016 to assess the issues with empty retail storefronts on Granville Street, understand the affordability and other issues, and ensure that independent businesses stay part of the retail mix in downtown Vancouver.

8th & Main

“I always loved Granville Street for its mix of fun and edgy. We easily found a building with the right look and space for our brand. Now it’s our fastest growing location.”

– Scott Hilton, Co-owner, 8th & Main

Local clothing retailer 8th & Main opened its second Vancouver location on Granville Street in 2014. They began with Flavour and Flavour Upstairs (vintage) on Johnson Street in Victoria, expanding to Vancouver with 8th & Main on Main Street, Granville Street and  most recently Yonge Street in Toronto. Co-owner Scott Hilton grew up in B.C.’s interior and used to visit Granville Street when he came to Vancouver. He always liked the entertainment and shopping, and the mix of fun and edginess on the street. Given their success on independent Main Street, locating on Granville seemed a natural extension.  

Opportunities & Challenges

Hilton thinks there are great spaces available for reasonable rates on Granville Street for the right business, and that they can expect to be able to negotiate quite a bit on posted rates. Hilton secured a 10 year lease for the 6000 ft2 space at a great rate, taking over another clothing store that needed few leasehold improvements.

Hilton admits that he has encountered some security issues on Granville Street. The store has hired a security guard to ensure staff safety and loss prevention. Hilton has done the same thing at his Main Street store, but splits the cost with several other neighbourhood businesses. He’d like to share the Granville guard with other businesses on the street.

Success

8th & Main’s Granville Street location was profitable from day one, and is now their fastest growing location. There are a lot of new customers every month and high rises are going up on many of the surrounding blocks – all pointing to a bright future. 8th & Main would like to see other independent restaurants and retailers join them on Granville Street. Hilton thinks that any business who succeeds in other independent neighbourhoods like West 4th, Gastown, South Granville or Commercial would see similar success here. His final thought? “There is an added bonus on downtown Granville of more late night traffic and many tourists, especially in summer. Granville/Davie is becoming a hub with an independent streak, and this is the time to find a good space.”

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