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Calgary entrepreneurs seek more support from the city despite coronavirus tax breaks

Distilled beauty bar and social house in Marda Loop. GOOGLE MAPS

Calgary business owner Lisa Maric said the city’s support for small businesses is not enough as many continue to struggle during the coronavirus outbreak.

On Monday, the city council voted to forgive the penalty for late payment of property taxes owed on June 30th. The redress will last until September 30th.

The decision provides temporary relief to local residents and business owners who are unable to make payments during this time.

Calgary City manager David Duckworth said they would continue to stand up for both the provincial and federal governments for more flexibility.

“We could be in a different position in more than eight weeks doing something more we don’t know about today,” said Duckworth.

Trying to stay afloat during the coronavirus

Maric opened the Distilled Beauty Bar and Social House in Marda Loop four years ago. Due to the outbreak, she had to temporarily close her doors and lay off 22 employees.

She and her son are the only workers at Distilled now. The coffee house is still open to the community four days a week. The company saw a massive drop in sales, with average sales averaging just $ 150 per day.

“We work here from nine to five every day. There is no payroll and we are not entitled to any benefits. We try our best to tinker together and fend off the inevitable, ”she said.

“A lot of expenses have increased and everyone has problems. The deferrals are nice, but they don’t take into account a lot of factors like rent, ”she said.

Maric said politicians don’t seem interested in how cash flow works in small businesses.

“If I have no sales, a moratorium does not offer any support,” said Maric.

“Access to deferrals for property taxes is already too high. In an economy that looks like it’s falling off a cliff, that won’t help, ”she said.

‘Between a rock and a hard place’

Some Distilled customers offered to purchase gift cards to show their support. Although Maric appreciates the gesture, she is uncomfortable when the store is finally closed.

“It’s great, but what if my landlord bankrupt me and I take $ 10,000 from my customers who support me? You cannot use your gift cards. I’m between a rock and a hard place, ”said Maric.

“If I don’t win the fight, the money goes to someone who doesn’t love the business. You just put it in your back pocket, ”she said.

“Small businesses are the backbone”

According to Lourdes Juan, which owns Soma Hammam & Spa, rental and property tax deferrals are paving solutions to a bigger problem.

“Many small and medium-sized businesses have seen their earnings go from thousands of dollars to just zero a day,” she said.

“How are entrepreneurs going to pay thousands in rents and property taxes in a few months when their income is $ 0?”

Juan said small businesses will only do this if all government contracts work together.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They have to take steps to ensure their survival, ”she said.

“It’s a hard time”

Kevin Kent, who owns Knifewear and Kent of Inglewood, said the council did the right thing to help business owners. After nine stores were temporarily closed due to the coronavirus, Kent said everything is helping.

“I think it’s a great move and it will help us a lot. It’s a tough time right now, ”said Kent.

“Deferrals help when you have no income. You have to find a way to cut your spending, ”he said.

Despite all its efforts, Kent believes there is not much more the city can do right now to help businesses.

“I don’t think there’s much you can do. The only income they have comes from property taxes. You don’t have to pull a lot of levers, ”he said.

Kent expects a slow economic recovery once things return to normal.

“If the city really made an effort to think about how it could help local businesses, it would be huge,” he said.

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