Business owners upset over Lethbridge Hotel cleanup


In the early hours of Feb. 24, the historic Lethbridge Hotel caught fire, destroying a significant portion of the building.


It was also the beginning of troubles for businesses and residents along 2nd Avenue S. and 5th Street S.


“I’m sure myself and all the other businesses on our block, we got woken up to text messages, emails, messages asking if our businesses were OK. Thankfully, all of our businesses were OK, at least in our building,” said Chantale Noel, owner of Hole Lotta Love Piercing Studio.


Some businesses surrounding the hotel had to close due to smoke damage.


Those that managed to stay up struggled due to fences and barricades set up by the city as part of cleanup efforts and safety precautions.


Foot traffic was cut by as much as 75 per cent, according to businesses across the street from the hotel.


“If we have 10 customers a day, now we have two customers. First, everybody thought we were closed. And second, the weather didn’t help because it was very cold and nobody wants to walk like four blocks to come and eat at our restaurant,” said Imad Dalank, owner of Beirut Shawarma and Kabab.


A bad situation was made worse on March 7, when a nearby water main broke and left several feet of water in the basements of the nearby businesses.


That forced what businesses had managed to stay open to close until the damage from the flooding could be fixed.


“The fire department comes in and tells us all we have to leave. The basement was flooding … Unfortunately, our one neighbour, Atomic Cannabis, his business is completely destroyed. The rest of us have faired as well as we can, considering,” Noel said.


Business owners are frustrated by what they’ve had to deal with the past few weeks.


They want to know when they can reopen and when demolition of the hotel will be finished.


“We pay taxes like everybody else. We pay bills like everybody else. We just need the city to put some attention here on this corner,” Dalank said.


The City of Lethbridge says it understands why businesses around the Lethbridge Hotel are frustrated, but it can’t provide a timeline on when the

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Behind the booming, multi-million-dollar business of Roxham Road

It’s an industry worth hundreds of millions, or more, with the cost only growing for Canadian taxpayers

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Around 3 p.m. on a February Friday, in the middle of a snowstorm, a Greyhound bus slowly turns into a combination gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts on the outskirts of Plattsburg, N.Y., a small city roughly 30 minutes from the U.S.-Canada border.

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The bus, originating from New York City, is tailed closely by a handful of taxi vans, some painted in trademark taxi yellow with “Cornwall, Roxham, and LaColle borders” boldly emblazoned on each side. They race into the parking lot, and their drivers jump out and rush towards the bus doors.

As soon as the first passengers step off the bus, the cab drivers start jostling for their attention.

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Calgary company accuses Google of driving business away with fake listing

A longtime family-run Calgary company is accusing Google of driving traffic to another business in a bizarre situation.

Ryan Schoel, owner of The Costume Shoppe, came across a Google listing that showed his address as Pirate Fashions Canada, even though the photos and phone number were for his business. Schoel said he discovered it about three weeks ago while trying to geotag a photo.

“(The site) said I was in Pirate Fashions Canada. Um, I’m in my building. Who is Pirates Fashion Canada?” he questioned.

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The Costume Shoppe has been in Calgary since 1994 and in its current location off of Blackfoot Trail for the past 12 years. Schoel said he found it absolutely absurd the search engine would tell him he was in the wrong place.

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“(Google) says you don’t exist, so you don’t exist,” he said. “They say The Costume Shoppe isn’t The Costume Shoppe — it’s this company in Florida — therefore we’re the company in Florida. That doesn’t make sense.”

Calgary store owner calls on Google to fix listing mistake.

Tomasia DaSilva

The listing that told Schoel he was in the wrong place also had a link to a website — again not for The Costume Shoppe, but for Pirate Fashions.

He contacted the American company but said not much came of his concerns. The owner did click on a Google setting that advises the business is not at that location. However, Schoel said that just made things even worse.

“Google did turn around and say it’s permanently closed. That’s great, however it still has a picture of my building, so now my building looks closed,” he pointed out.

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“That’s not a win. A win for me is the whole thing comes down because it’s fraudulent.”

Pirate Fashions tells Global News it didn’t know anything about this until Schoel contacted them. It also said it did nothing wrong on its end and tried to help by letting Google know it was a wrong address.

However, when we asked why it’s not pushing Google to take the listing down, owner Tiger Lee told us having it up has not hurt the business and may in fact help it.

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Global News also reached out to

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How Luxury Department Store Harrods Built A Booming Restaurant Business

Dining is not the first thing that comes to mind when consumers think of Harrods—despite its retail Food Halls being internationally famous. As one of the world’s top destinations for luxury, showcasing over 3,000 brands, the department store in Knightsbridge, London maintains a high-fashion image based on exclusivity and tailored service.

Even the retailer’s website is shy about the 26-strong restaurant and bar offer—you have to hunt around at the bottom to find the details. Yet eating and drinking in-store has blossomed to the extent that towards the end of last year it was trading 44% higher than it was pre-Covid, and transaction values were also 47% up on 2019. More widely, Harrods turned a profit again in the last financial year for which figures are available.

The latest addition to the roster of dining venues—which features fêted names like Jason Atherton, Vineet Bhatia, Tom Kerridge, Angelo Musa, Gordon Ramsay, and Em Sherif—arrived at the end of 2022. Studio Frantzén, brought another Michelin-starred chef to the store, this time from Sweden.

Björn Frantzén’s à la carte restaurant, with a signature Asian-influenced take on Nordic cuisine, is literally the pinnacle of Harrod’s dining experiences because it is found at the very top of the department store’s building on two floors, plus an outdoor terrace. The latter is claimed to be the only rooftop terrace in Knightsbridge and Mayfair, two of London’s most desirable districts. As well as being a choice for foodies, the 150-seat Studio Frantzén is open late and has a buzzy vibe with two bars, one of which offers sweeping views.

Data-led gains

So what is the attraction of having so many eating and drinking spots in the store? I had the chance to catch up with Harrods’ director of restaurants and kitchens, Ashley Saxton, to find out how food and beverage (F&B) is fast becoming a revenue driver and a cornerstone of the business.

“Our research has found that when customers engage with our restaurants they also engage more often with the store. They spend twice as long in the building and spend twice as much money,” he said.

That insight alone has given Saxton quite a bit of freedom

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Small business groups push for extension to repay outstanding CEBA loans

A hand painted sign about the Canada Emergency Business Account is seen in the front window of Frances Watson, a store on Queen St. West, on April 15, 2020.Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail

Small-business groups are asking the federal government to further extend the deadline for repaying Canada Emergency Business Account loans when the budget is tabled later this month, as few of the loans have been paid back.

Ottawa announced the creation of the CEBA program on April 9, 2020, and sent more than $49-billion to almost 900,000 businesses. It was the first and most widely used pandemic support program for businesses.

The original repayment deadline for the interest-free, partially forgivable loans was Dec. 31, 2022; after that, businesses would start paying interest and forfeit the forgivable portion of the loans. Last year, citing the challenges posed by the Omicron variant, Ottawa extended the deadline by 12 months.

But almost three years after the program began, most of the loans are still outstanding. Export Development Canada, the Crown corporation that oversees CEBA, told The Globe and Mail that just 13 per cent, representing $5.7-billion, were repaid as of the end of November, 2022. EDC first provided these figures to CBC.

The reason: Many of those businesses are still struggling with debt incurred during the pandemic, business groups say.

Olivier Bourbeau, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president of Quebec and federal affairs, said his association recently surveyed its members and found that 20 per cent of those who had not yet repaid their CEBA loans were not sure they ever could. About 30 per cent of its members reported having pandemic-related debt of more than $100,000.

Data from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy show there were 533 insolvencies in the accommodation and food-services sector in the 12 months ending Jan. 31, up from 377 in the prior 12 months – an increase of 41 per cent.

Under the current rules, CEBA loans are worth either $40,000 or $60,000 and are interest-free and partly forgivable ($10,000 for the smaller loans, $20,000 for the larger ones) if the balance is repaid by Dec. 31, 2023. After that, the forgivable portion is forfeited, interest begins to accrue at a 5-per-cent rate, and the loan goes to collections if not repaid in full by Dec. 31, 2025.

Restaurants Canada has proposed the government phase out the loan forgiveness over six-month periods, so that

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