Running your own business in Montreal is no easy feat. Actually, Montreal is arguably the hardest city to operate an independent business in, for some very key reasons.
One is undoubtedly construction, as major infrastructure have been, and continue to be entirely detrimental to the success of small businesses.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone. Businesses along major commercial arteries have been quite vocal about how infrastructure work has hurt their enterprise, in some cases forcing them to move or close.
Saint Denis street is a prime example, with business owners continuing to face problems due to the extensive underground infrastructure work that is currently being done in the Plateau.
Many criticize the City of Montreal for not being more proactive with this problem by finding ways to help businesses thrive (or just survive) when construction blocks or obstructs their storefront.
While their isn't a singular solution to this issue, the city is helping independent owners put in a precarious position due to infrastructure work. Many people just aren't all that aware, small businesses included.
For the first time this year, the City of Montreal launched PRAM-Artère en chantier, a program designed to aid businesses on commercial arteries undergoing extensive infrastructure redevelopment. With $13.9 million in funding, the city hopes to turn what many regard as "a major hindrance into an opportunity."
How funds will be spent for businesses on streets involved with PRAM-Artère en chantier will be determined by the City of Montreal, with several funding "components" making up the program. But that isn't to say the money won't be well spent.
Included within the program's budget are funds ($2.7 million) specifically allocated for merchant associations (like Rue Saint Denis or SDBSL) to attract more customers, along with ways to reignite activity on the street once the construction work is over.
$9.7 million is also being offered as a subsidy program for business owners who need to renovate the their respective stores. This includes both the exterior facade and interior design, with the city covering 40%-50% of the work, depending on the type.
PRAM-Artère en chantier is currently helping businesses on Saint Denis (between Roy and Gilford) and Saint-Paul East (between Berri and De Vaudreuil), though the renovation subsidy program has yet to be launched.
Of course, there are many other ways the City of Montreal could/should help out independent businesses put at risk due to infrastructure work, but it is comforting to know that a program like PRAM-Artère en chantier exists.
Some help is far better than no help, after all, so if you're a business that's been put at risk due to construction, apply and see what funding you can get.