Terraces sprouting, hockey playoffs, spring, Montreal survived winter.

Montreal is coming alive once again. The sun is shining, the weather is warming up, and certain smells make you feel jolly and some other smells should have remained frozen!!! People have smiles on their faces and they even salute you with a big grin. So, spring is really showing its colors.

All of these behaviors and weather patterns bring other realities back to life. Spring cleaning of your home, lawns to be tended, it also brings shop and store owners trying to take advantage of people coming out, in order to better their business situation which in many cases is precarious. They also clean the front of their establishment with pride and to be more attractive. After a winter we find many undesirable items left by none to respectful pedestrians, such as little green bags of dog POO. Very nice to pick it up your dog POO somewhere and not have to grace of bringing it back and dispose of it in an efficient way. It’s easy to drop it by a tree and litter this city even more. I guess the business owners can do this for you and add this in their service offering?!!!

The other beautiful aspect of spring, street and sidewalk terraces are coming out and the hunt to find the one that is being bathed in the rays of the sun in Montreal starts. What nicer feel than to sit on a terrace at this time of the year? It makes you feel alive and gives the business owner also a new breath to remain alive. I don’t know who had given the green light to the Street and sidewalk terraces at the city of Montreal, but very nicely done. It gives a certain charm to Montreal and helps its businesses. I believe the city have adopted a motion to close 5 or so other Streets to motorists this summer, which in my book is a good idea for the citizens to wonder the streets at their leisure, savoring and discovering the small businesses that need to be discovered and brings the rhythm of our fast paced life’s down a few notches. I believe this initiative also creates a sentiment of closeness, belonging to the neighborhood and understanding and exchange between the people of the community and tourist alike.

I was reading Rosemont Petite-Patrie will abolish sidewalk terraces from their borough for all establishments and certain parts will more targeted. All establishments wanting to have a terrace will have to do it in the Street. I understand the reasoning of the decision taken by the borough for wanting to have a clear passage way of 1.5M between their businesses and the terraces. I hope this decision was not motivated by trying to get more tax and permit money from these often called mama and papa shops. If the businesses contravene to this decision they will see their chairs and tables packed and disposed of.

As we know business is hard and one of the hardest businesses out there is restauration. I was taking a late evening meal on Ste-Catherine with a friend after a networking event. We actually closed the place and started talking with the owner that had remained to serve us. We spoke of all the shops closing, spaces for rent, for sale on Ste-Catherine Street in the well-known Guay Village. He told us how hard winter his for business with store front exposure on Ste-Catherine. He told us what the monthly rent was, to this add the business taxes, the alcohol permit, the music rights, insurances, electricity, salaries basically all the fixed costs. Only the rent and the business taxes made my knees buckle and my mouth became ajar from hearing this. The whole restaurant space is not big approximately 1000 square feet and let me tell you, only the rent and business they have to pay monthly would pay a very nice mortgage on a house. He told us, you wonder and asked yourself why did I open this restaurant? I should have kept my job, I was getting a pay check every two weeks doing less hours with fewer headaches and having more quality times with my family.

I will give a plug to this Mexican restaurant Taco & Loco, next to the TVA building and located at 1485, Ste-Catherine East. It is not a restaurant with all the fancy trims, the food is excellent and authentic Mexican food, not the Tex-Mex type, the ambiance was good and the service was great and they went that little extra distance to make your experience one to remember and this before speaking with the owner. You can talk soccer or hockey with the owner he’s a fan of both!!!

I am asking the city of Montreal and Mayor Coderre to see to give these small businesses a break and re-establish the parameters of these terraces. We want to keep the small businesses open; Montreal, Quebec, Canada was built with these small businesses. We know the city and provincial government need money we are all aware of this. All of you put together a little here a little there, are only squeezing too much out of these businesses and added to this the weight of bureaucratic paperwork they have to deal with.

Now adding, to this we have certain students and other people not even knowing why or have so many claims/demands taking to the Streets with manifestation for no right reason. These people doing these manifestations do not even realise they are killing businesses and the hand that feeds them. I know we have to do movements, and show our disagreement, but do them somewhere else sometimes. Go and do them on highway 15 or 20 and let these businesses live. People from the outside do not want to go or come downtown anymore, being scared and never knowing what may happen.

People that agree to give these businesses a hand, show solidarity. Go visite their establishment and ask the higher spheres of this world to revise their administrative structures of fees for permits and tax brackets. You know what, you lower only a little the financial burden of shop owners and the money will come back in the system anyway. Let’s only give them a little breathing space.

Small business owners around Montreal, Montrealers and visitors will back you up I am certain and from all of us to you we wish you a GREAT and BOUNTYFULL summer.