Be­yond the bridge

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

How Bazaar, Dave’s Lob­ster, Boom Burger, Ga­han House, Cows — house­hold names in P.E.I.

But now, those busi­nesses are mak­ing a name for them­selves in At­lantic Canada’s largest city.

In our past four edi­tions, cul­mi­nat­ing with to­day’s, we’ve chron­i­cled how each of those home grown com­pa­nies and oth­ers are now suc­cess­fully en­trenched in Hal­i­fax’s bustling down­town shop­ping and dining scene. In the case of a cou­ple of the com­pa­nies, they’ve even branched out with spin-off busi­nesses that are unique to Hal­i­fax and have be­come suc­cess­ful in their own right.

Some could ar­gue these shops and restau­rants are some­how sac­ri­fic­ing the “Is­land-ness” that makes them unique.

We dis­agree — it should be en­cour­ag­ing to P.E.I. res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers alike that this friendly in­va­sion seems to be catch­ing on with Haligo­ni­ans and the many vis­i­tors to the Nova Sco­tia city.

Much like many mu­si­cians who play the Is­land’s bar scene, the ul­ti­mate goal for many busi­ness own­ers is to reach be­yond the coast­line of our small prov­ince to bring their of­fer­ings to a broader mar­ket.

There aren’t many places where you won’t find a Wal­mart, a McDon­ald’s, a Tim Hor­tons, a Cana­dian Tire. These com­pa­nies are suc­cess­ful for a rea­son, but they’re all head­quar­tered (in­ter­na­tion­ally, in most cases) in large ur­ban cen­tres, and the shop­ping or dining ex­pe­ri­ence is rel­a­tively the same no mat­ter where in the world you find them.

Why can’t Is­land busi­nesses and en­trepreneurs as­pire to sim­i­lar, al­beit smaller suc­cesses, while main­tain­ing a home base in P.E.I. and con­tin­u­ing to of­fer unique ex­pe­ri­ences, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and prod­ucts?

To be sure, these home­spun busi­nesses are help­ing out Hal­i­fax’s econ­omy, its en­trepreneurs and its res­i­dents. But, what’s work­ing well for Hal­i­fax also trans­lates to good things for the econ­omy in this prov­ince.

Suc­cess­ful ex­pan­sion means more work at com­pany head­quar­ters here on the Is­land when it comes to per­son­nel for hu­man re­sources, pay­roll and ad­min­is­tra­tion for the Hal­i­fax es­tab­lish­ments. Meet­ing with suc­cess there could also lead to fu­ture ex­pan­sions back home.

In P.E.I., these suc­cess sto­ries could in­spire other busi­ness own­ers to dream a bit big­ger, or at least show them the pos­si­bil­ity ex­ists.

Our savvy, tal­ented busi­ness com­mu­nity here on the Is­land was long over­due for this type of ex­pan­sion, and it ap­pears the con­di­tions ex­ist to make it worth­while to at least con­sider tak­ing the risk.

Let’s hope this ex­pan­sion con­tin­ues and we see more P.E.I. in Hal­i­fax — and even be­yond.

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