As Exchange District businesses continue to grapple with the City of Winnipeg over parking issues and more, one Exchange business owner is thinking ahead.
Bill Mayberry of Mayberry Fine Art told 680 CJOB he opened a second location in Tuxedo after lost sales and complaints from customers.
The installation of bike lanes – causing a lack of loading zones – has affected the service end of his Exchange business as well, he said.
“There’s a lot of artwork and so on that comes and goes, and there’s a physical side to that.
“You need to have the convenience of getting it from your customers and to your customers, so a lot of our business will still operate through (our Exchange location at) 212 McDermot, but we will service a lot of our clients through the other location. ”
Mayberry said opening a second location was something he was already considering, but the ongoing problems in the Exchange definitely accelerated the process.
“What has happened has kind of fast-forwarded this decision,” he said.
“Really, what we’re doing is expanding, but we’re trying to pre-empt what’s happening here.
“This is a business decision, and we’re survivors. We’ve survived in this business a long time.”
Mayberry said the McDermot location – which he calls his flagship storefront – won’t be closing, but he’s hoping he can be involved in any discussions with other Exchange business owners and the city to come up with solutions.
The art dealer isn’t the only area business owner with complaints about the parking situation.
In late 2019, Exchange District business owners sent a petition to city hall asking for changes on issues like parking rates, bike lane placement and more to prevent further impact on shoppers in the area.
A proposed 50-cent cut to area parking rates – later increased to a proposed city-wide $1.50 cut – was pushed through to the budget process by city council following a meeting with business owners from the historic district.
Earlier this month, Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface), chair of the city’s infrastructure and public works committee, told 680 CJOB that the business concerns have been heard “loud and clear” by city hall, and that parking increases were put into place as part of a “mode shift” to encourage active transportation.
“As we’re growing as a city and we’re encouraging ways to get people out of single-passenger automobile trips and using transit and active transportation as modes of transport… right now, it sort of makes sense to me that you pay a bit more if you’re parking, you pay a bit less to take the bus and you pay nothing if you’re walking or cycling,” he said.