Tbnewswatch Local News
Saturday July 4 2015
6:28 PM EDT
2014-06-24 at 14:34

Dissatisfied customers

Thunder Bay Ventures manager Royden Potvin presents the findings of the 2014 Thunder Bay Small Business Opinion Survey at the Finlandia Club Tuesday.
Kathleen Charlebois, tbnewswatch.com
Thunder Bay Ventures manager Royden Potvin presents the findings of the 2014 Thunder Bay Small Business Opinion Survey at the Finlandia Club Tuesday.
By Kathleen Charlebois, for tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- Small businesses are not happy with this city’s council.

That is one of the findings of the Thunder Bay Small Business Opinion Survey 2014, sponsored by Thunder Bay Ventures, which was made public Tuesday. One of the facts highlighted by the survey is that only four of 10 respondents had a positive view of the current city council.

The survey is produced in an effort to provide information for policy makers and legislators in order to deal more efficiently with small businesses. Royden Potvin, manager of Thunder Bay Ventures, says 61 per cent dissatisfaction for council is higher than normal.

“I think council has a very difficult role to please everyone all the time,” Potvin said, adding that he’s not sure of the source of this year’s seeming increase in council dissatisfaction.

“We’ve seen that number quite a bit lower, and I really don’t have a clear-cut answer as to why people believe that’s the case.”

While the results may not be positive for council, they certainly do favour the activity at Thunder Bay’s waterfront among small business owners. Meanwhile, believing that their survey would simply mirror that of Ipsos Reid, the small business survey avoided asking about the proposed events centre.

Some of the most positive results came from the mining industry, and the opportunities it can provide small businesses.

Small-business owner Luis Alves, of LA Quality Foods,  says his connection to mining companies makes him feel like he’s actually part of that industry. And the survey shows that he’s not alone in feeling a strong connection to the industry.

The survey shows there is a strong belief among small business owners that the mining industry is having a positive impact on the local economy and is important to its future. This belief exists even among business owners who do not see a direct impact from the mining industry through its revenue.

A new question was added this year asking whether small businesses are using Ryden’s Depot in Minnesota as a port for receiving inventory. According to the survey, 40 percent of small businesses use the depot to import at least a portion of their inventory.

Potvin says he will follow the trend to see if it increases over the next few years.

The full findings of the survey will be available on Thunder Bay Ventures website in a couple of days.


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Pandora says:
Did a STORY on WHY...reasons the Business people are so dissatisfied.

Need the whole story. Need the follow up on the last time(not so long ago) the Chamber of Commerce spoke up telling Administration how they needed to 'Stop the Madness' spending. The City came back,denied, denied, denied and silenced the Chamber?
6/25/2014 9:43:48 AM
octane says:
TSB the owners of Ryden are American. They live in the US and have many properties in Thunder Bay.
Get your story straight.
6/25/2014 9:30:15 AM
tsb says:
Sorry, I was simply basing this on the fact that I've met them many times and knows people who know them. I'm sure you know them better than I do.
6/25/2014 5:28:23 PM
Harold says:
If these small businesses uses Rydens to ship their inventory then why are they still trying to charge the city retail prices for these items that they got at a discount/bulk price??
I am glad to do my cross border shopping and I hope that it puts these hypocritical businesses out of business
6/25/2014 9:21:00 AM
Harold says:
Rydens is the best!! Btw...they are making the same sort of thing at Portage now. If it wasn't for the Casino this city would be sunk also.
6/25/2014 9:12:43 AM
Pandora says:
So what say voting taxpaying citizens are we going to do about it?
6/24/2014 8:26:02 PM
tsb says:
The owners of Ryden's are Canadian and live in Canada...
6/24/2014 6:00:25 PM
Wolfie says:
"A new question was added this year asking whether small businesses are using Ryden’s Depot in Minnesota as a port for receiving inventory. According to the survey, 40 percent of small businesses use the depot to import at least a portion of their inventory."

And yet they're always banging on about "buy local". Hypocrites.
6/24/2014 5:08:53 PM
animiki says:
As a small business owner who sometimes receives inventory at Ryden's, I can honestly say it has nothing to do with buying local. My inventory isn't available locally; it has to be imported from the US and other countries. Going to Ryden's and doing my own importing a) dramatically reduces shipping costs--it costs a lot more to have something shipped from the US to Canada than it does to ship it within the US--and b) allows me to avoid paying customs brokerage fees. If I had to incur higher shipping costs and brokerage fees, guess how I'd have to recover those? Yes, from my customers.

Now, anything I CAN buy locally, I do. That includes most services (graphic design, cleaning, etc.) and many goods (signs, fixtures, stationery, cleaning supplies,, etc.) If I could buy my inventory locally, I'd certainly do that, too. But I simply can't; the stuff isn't available in Thunder Bay. Can you propose a "buy local" alternative for such a case?
6/24/2014 6:41:48 PM
nevinyrral says:
I came to say this too. I don't own a business or know anything about running a business, but it seems very obvious to me that local businesses have to get their product somewhere, and that's not going to be local most of the time. The alternative to picking it up at Rydens is throwing money away on brokerage fees and shipping prices. None of that extra money does anything locally except raise prices for local customers.
6/25/2014 12:47:11 AM
Wolfie says:
"None of that extra money does anything locally except raise prices for local customers."

According to Animiki's examples, it could support additional Canadian courier drivers and brokerage handlers. Maybe a Canadian import company could fill this niche and make these goods available here, employing people in the process.

The bottom line is that small business owners use Ryden's to save money. Consumers also use Ryden's to save money. Nothing is wrong with either scenario. But to say that it is okay for business owners to use this service, but that consumers should "buy local" is ridiculous.
6/25/2014 7:24:43 AM
spazz says:
Usually your posts here seem fairly well thought out but you are a little fast to talk down on people shipping to Rydens.

The difference between shipping something to Ryden's and having it delivered the extra 40 minutes to Thunder Bay is sometimes double what it would be. Those costs can add up fast, and I can hardly blame people for wanting to save that shipping cost. Also, plenty of American companies don't regard Canada as a large/strong enough market to even offer shipping. Quite often having Ryden's available is the difference between being able to purchase something at all, regardless of shipping costs.

Two sides to every story though, as Cole International (import brokerage company) was started right here in Thunder Bay.
6/25/2014 1:41:56 PM
Wolfie says:
Thank you for the compliment.

I am not at all against people or businesses using Ryden's. It is a fantastic service that, like you say, allows us access to products that many people located a greater distance from the border do not have access to. It also saves people money.

I'm just pointing out that businesses can't have it both ways... using Ryden's to save themselves money but calling it treason when local consumers do the same. That's called hypocrisy.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
6/25/2014 4:15:03 PM
unheard says:
you lie in your statement
you say you buy all you can locally but there are many local shipping companies that can get you your products yet you choose to save money by not using them, now their employees have less work n money to spend at your store. Don't think you understand the concept of shopping locally.
6/25/2014 9:54:42 AM
jaxoon says:
You can avoid the brokerage fees. You just have to have proof that you have paid your duties etc.
6/25/2014 12:47:14 PM
lori says:
well said by sign man. We cry poor for small projects yet claim we can afford the large ones like this proposed white elephant.

I have said this many times on this site.

Millions was wasted on chasing a pipe dream at the waterfront. Show me the returns on our investment at the Waterfront.

Yet after this boondoggle, we are full speed ahead for another.

6/24/2014 5:02:38 PM
teacher says:
As a local business who uses the waterfront frequently over the last 10yrs I can certainly say that the development is a million times improved. When we would shoot down there is was plain and empty except for the few gentlemen passed out. Now there is life and people galore down there constantly. I enjoy taking my kids there without fear of being knifed. The return investment is seeing the 100's of smiling faces that would otherwise be inside playing video games. That Lori is priceless.
6/24/2014 6:58:59 PM
unheard says:
if you by priceless you mean this will never stop being a drain on tax payers you are right
6/25/2014 8:23:57 AM
bttnk says:
I'll bite Lori. Show me the return on road work, parks work, etc. You can't because that is not the point. The waterfront project was never about showing a tangible return on investment, but rather revitalizing the greatest asset this city has. Why is it so hard for you to grasp that concept?
6/24/2014 9:02:17 PM
livewire says:
What a laugh > 40% of small business using Ryden's. What happened to buy locally. The businesses cry when the people do x-border shopping and now we find out the businesses are doing it themselves and cranking the cost up for profit. Power to x-border shopping. Have to do it in order to pay our city taxes.
6/24/2014 4:51:25 PM
signman says:
I am surprised even 4 out of 10 have a positive view of this city council.

As far as the Waterfront is concerned most of the people the Concerned Taxpayers of Thunder Bay have talked to (and that would include thousands) believe way too much money has been WASTED selling this prime property off to a private developer at taxpayers expense.

They also go on to say the city's infrastructure including roads has deteriorated and suffered as a result of all the money that has been dumped into the Waterfront.
The Waterfront has provided little if anything for the average taxpayer other than HIGHER TAXES!

The city is continually crying poor and even asked for a further tax increase this year after the budget was approved!

However when it comes to the Waterfront or the Event Centre the city acts like they've just WON THE BIGGEST LOTTERY IN CANADIAN HISTORY.

Yes it's hard to believe even 4 out of 10 are satisfied with the way this council is burying the city in DEBT!
6/24/2014 4:18:42 PM
Wolfie says:
And yet the article states:

"While the results may not be positive for council, they certainly do favour the activity at Thunder Bay’s waterfront"

I guess the so-called "Concerned Taxpayers" aren't talking to many small business owners...
6/24/2014 5:07:35 PM
Eastender says:
Of course they favour the activity at the marina, why wouldn't you.
But thats not to say that they favour the ridiculous amount of money that was poured into the waterfront to achieve the results.
Infilling of the lake was an expensive way to create adequate landspace to build the condos, which could have been built on land already available.
Surveys usually mean very little, except to the people who want to validate what they already believe.
6/25/2014 12:02:14 PM
Wolfie says:
"Surveys usually mean very little to the people whose opinions don't agree with the results"

Fixed that for you.
6/25/2014 1:35:13 PM
Eastender says:
Nope! Still broken!
6/25/2014 4:53:51 PM
jaxoon says:
I think you need to change your name to "letsstopprogress"
6/25/2014 12:44:18 PM
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