In episode two, Paul and Dave talk with Victoria Shannon president of Hansbraun Investments a local commercial property management firm. Victoria shares the ways in which their business values became the compass that is helping them navigate the fallout of the pandemic. She unpacks how Hansbraun had to quickly innovate and attributes much of their success to their business values and strong workplace culture. Victoria is optimistic long-term and predicts that we’ll see a revival in the “buy local” movement. Tune in to find out how Victoria and her team are making a difference in our community.
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Paul: Welcome to the podcast today. My name is Paul Holmes and I’ll be your host and joining me today is Dave Monahan, the President of Smart Dolphins. Dave, how are you today?
Dave: I’m good, thank you.
Paul: Awesome. And joining us as well is Victoria Shannon, the president and COO of Hansbraun Investments which is a local family-owned real estate business here on Vancouver Island. Welcome to the show, Victoria. How are you today?
Victoria: Thank you, I’m very well, it’s great to be here.
Paul: Great. And of course we’re all hunkered down away from our offices during this very strange time we’re in and we of course want to invite local businesses like Hansbraun to have a conversation about what you’re doing right now and some advice. So why don’t we start with how Hansbraun has adapted during this crazy time we are in?
Victoria: That’s a big question. Well, the first one is obvious which is most of our admin team is working from home. So back at the beginning of March, we quickly shut it down to only two of us working in the office with everyone else being remote. And we changed the hours of our operations team so that they weren’t running into customers in our shopping centers but could still do all of the sanitizing etc. So right away, I mean, obviously the technology was a big thing. And thank goodness for you guys to get that sorted out really quickly. And other than the fact that everything seems to take twice as much work when you’re doing it from home, it has been a fairly seamless transition. We have recently expanded our circle so that there are now four of us working in the office and that’s just this week, so that’s changing a little bit. But other than that, I guess our work has completely changed because what we’re doing with our days is now just working with our tenants in regard to Covid and all of the changes that they see coming and are going through right now. So, it’s sort of pushed everything else aside and that’s all we’ve been doing for last ten weeks.
Paul: And in terms of your clients, obviously, you have a broad mix, but as I understand, it’s mostly retail, is that correct?
Victoria: It is, yes, rental and offices.
Paul: And so some of those offices have obviously stayed open with a skeleton crew in some cases, but the grocery stores, for example, have been remained open and continued obviously in a very strange and different way than they have historically operated. But what’s the broad impact in terms of your clients and what’s maybe some creative ways you’ve seen people get through the last ten weeks?
Victoria: Yeah, so we do have a big base of anchor tenants that are open and are really every day type of businesses, so we have a lot of essential services. We have a lot of grocery, drug store, liquor store, as well as smaller businesses and restaurants that are switching to take out or slightly different business models. This week of course we’re seeing some changes in the personal services sector starting to open back up and it’s really interesting to see their “this is how we’re going to be doing things right now. Don’t come into our store, but we’ll call you when we’re ready” and that sort of thing. So that’s been fairly typical. We’ve had a number of businesses, I would say about 30% of the businesses just have to close, they don’t have an option for online or whatever it is, right?
Paul: Yeah, and obviously those businesses in particular, but all the businesses that have been affected have had various government programs and that sort of thing to help during this obviously strange time. How has that worked for most of your clients? Have you had some that have really struggled to make do with that or is it a mixed bag or some success stories there?
Victoria: Yes, there is absolutely some success stories. It has been a mixed bag. We recognized right off the hop that our biggest challenge was going to be having these businesses capable of opening back up as opposed to paying rent through this. So that was our priority right on day one. And a big part of our business strategy is personal relationships with our tenants and in our community. So, we started from day one and we basically said, “Tell us what you need and that’s what we’ll do.” So, there are businesses that are fortunate enough to have some reserves they have continued to pay rent. Obviously, some of them have continued to be open and some of them are month-to-month and cannot afford to pay anything. So we just said “it’s your responsibility to come to us” because there’s so many of them “come to us and tell us what you need, and that is what we’ll do and we’ll sort it out after.”
So, we’re basically calling it deferment right now because we just don’t know what it’s going to look like or how long it’s going to last. But then we’re going to be making agreements with everybody as, “can you pay some of the back? Will it cripple you?” Like a lot of them won’t be able to, and certainly, they wouldn’t be able to grow and flourish if they all of a sudden they have this payment that they have to catch up. So, we’re going one-on-one and just reviewing the situation individually and working with them as a team really.
Dave: I just want to comment as a tenant with Hansbraun. I found the communication was great, it was very open. I did feel like we were on the same team and we’ve navigated this well and continued to pay rent. There was this sort of this openness and I just really felt that care.
Paul: There’s so many layers. And I think this is the thing, it’s very easy for a lot of people on social media to just take a very simple approach because they see the world in their 45-degree view of things, they’re not seeing, necessarily, the big picture. But here we have a family-owned local business, not some giant multi–national that’s really trying to make money, but obviously your business is affected when people can’t pay their rents because that’s your business.
Victoria: That’s our business.
Paul: That’s your business. Obviously, there will continue to be some sad stories, about businesses that won’t survive through this situation, and obviously, certain sectors are hit harder than others. And I think the shame of it all is that it said nothing about how great those businesses were before because they could have been amazing, fantastic businesses three months ago where the sky is the limit. And just with a stroke of bad luck now maybe their business is not viable three months later. And I think we all should give pause to that and recognize that we’re in this very strange world and that really says nothing the leaders behind those businesses because they just happened to be in an industry that got hit super hard with this, right?
Victoria: Yes it is. And I do want to say Dave, thank you for your kind comments about us because that’s our goal is to have that relationship with our tenants. I agree and from a personal level, even I look at my parents had just embarked in a six-month cruise which they paid a huge amount of money for. But who should pay for that? I don’t think the client should pay for it. But should the cruise company pay for it? Should all of the employees of the cruise company pay for it? There’s no right answer to who should pay for it? So that is what I think makes it so complex.
Paul: You hit very personally close to home there because our big summer plan was a cruise in Europe, and we had put down a lot of money and now all of that money is sitting in limbo right now, of course, right? And it’s hard to whine about that because so many people have had such bigger tragedies than that, but it’s still kind of at some level I’m kind of going “well, it sucks to be me” but then again there’s a lot of people a lot worse off right now. So, yeah, travel, in particular, there’s travel companies that you have as well, right?
Victoria: And yes. And also just to feel sorry for myself for a moment I’m supposed to be in Indonesia right now, so I feel a little bummed about that, but, again, it is a really nice problem to have. But yes, we definitely have travel providers. When are they going be able to get back to business? And that’s just one example of the businesses that it’s not like they’re just waiting for a date that they can open their door. When are they going to be able to open and then when they do, who’s going to be traveling? That’s going to be a really slow shift. And everything that happens with that business just trickles out into the economy to the airlines into those, the hotels everything.
Dave: It’s very macro.
Paul: So why don’t you tell us about maybe some unexpected success stories where businesses that maybe you thought wouldn’t fare well have or have done better than expected maybe. Maybe from your birds-eye view there’s a couple that stand out where they’ve actually managed to maybe survive in creative ways. I don’t know if any sort of spring to mind there?
Victoria: Well, actually I will just say one is the Village Restaurant, and they’re doing grocery boxes and all kinds of stuff. They are so great in the community.
Paul: Yes, they’re so great. Yes, I saw a post on social media from them the other day. They were basically saying and you could feel it just by reading this post, we really, really want to just get back to the way things were, and provide great service, and have that one-on-one and everything, else, but we’re just living in this really weird time and we’re going to have to take very cautious steps towards re-opening. And I know the rules are relaxing a little bit. Maybe this is an interesting topic you’ve got some insights on because I’ve read a fair bit about this. I’m not super excited about going to a restaurant and I used to love restaurants. And so, how does a restaurant re–open during this very strange time and keep their staff and their customers safe in that environment? It’s so tricky right?
Victoria: Yes it is and restaurants don’t have the big footprint that they used to have where people could actually spread out in a restaurant and just to go back to the Village and that’s their model. People are in there and it’s almost like, it’s the buzz and the hum of it and you’re right beside that table and that’s on purpose and there’s a feeling to that. But it’s consequently a small space and it can’t be worth it for them to open for how many tables they could now be able to put in there. So again, they’re looking for those creative solutions.
Paul: Maybe outdoor service?
Victoria: They do have it but again, that’s dependent on weather and by the time you buy all of the food and book all of the staff, I’m sure their business model doesn’t work for them, if they can only have a third of the seating. Restaurants is a really good one. Maybe we’re going to see (I’ve seen it more in my house), the Skip the Dishes a lot. Maybe it’s going to be more takeout but that has a huge impact on their staffing as well. And that was our number one concern actually when we first started out and said, okay, what are we going to say because people are going be calling about rent right away. And the deal was “We will help you, if you help your people.” And that was before we knew what the government was going to do and we just were like, “Oh my gosh. People are going to be earning nothing?” In these new innovative ways of opening it generally doesn’t seem to take as many people.
Paul: There’s that whole 75% subsidy, which has helped a lot of restaurants to stay open in that takeout capacity, but even then they’re not necessarily going to bridge the gap, if they’re not seeing even revenue numbers even close to what they would have seen before. So, it’s a good rabbit hole. Maybe we should move onto a different topic, but it’s one of the ones I think about and I’m sure you’ve got a dozen other examples of the various challenges. I feel like grocery stores have done pretty good in terms of enforcing social distancing, having the one-way aisles and that sort of thing. I don’t know if you had some experience grocery shopping or… If you’ve sort of been following what some of your clients are doing, but maybe you could speak to that.
Victoria: Yeah, I have and actually what has helped them even more is how many of the other businesses are closed because where you run into an issue is how do people line up to get into the store?
Victoria: So right now, they’re lined up in front of all of the stores that are closed and that’s not creating a problem. So, I noticed yesterday when I was at Saanich Plaza there was twice as many cars as I’ve seen there in a long time. I feel that shift really quickly. And I don’t know how that’s going to work, but that’s one of the things that we talked about in one of our admin meetings this week is: how are people going line up? Some businesses want to put chairs outside of their business for people to wait but there’s not always room with proper accessibility and that creates different issues. So again, we just kind of have to go one-by-one and see what we can do and turn a blind eye to the rules sometimes.
Dave: We can edit that out.
Paul: It’s not your responsibility for everybody to follow the rules, everybody’s personal responsibility is to follow the rules, right? I think that’s going be the biggest social challenge over the next little while, is you’re going to have people who don’t necessarily appreciate the big picture of a pandemic and aren’t necessary that keen on following the rules, right?
Victoria: So, I have personally noticed a wide range of tolerance for space. And I was in a store the other day using a self–checkout and then of course something happened that I needed an attendant and that person came right over my shoulder and would have been touching me, if I hadn’t stepped away. And obviously there’s people at the other end of the spectrum, so that is little difficult.
Paul: Yeah, I’d say the social impact…we have a lot of things to work out I guess, on that side.
Victoria: Yeah, we sure do. And I just had my first meeting that was not a digital meeting with someone outside of our organization the other day in a parking lot. And the first thing I did was step forward to shake his hand and then I was like, “nope.” Oh definitely habits. I do hope that hand shaking comes back eventually.
Dave: Yeah, I’m curious you talk about sort of dealing with each client individually, how much can you help them? I think we are seeing a need to drastically shift business models. And like a restaurant, I think it’s just going to eat at a restaurant is going to have to become more expensive, there’s an extra cost to having that luxury now. Are you having those kind of conversations with customers?
Victoria: Yeah, absolutely, we’re having those conversations all day every day and it’s hard to say how much because I can’t put a dollar amount on it. We don’t expect people in a month or two months to go. “Okay, I can pay all my rent, again.” We are expecting that it is going be a long slow build back up into it. So we’ve done some other things this year with our common cost budget. So, we’ve just slashed a bunch of projects that we would normally do that aren’t crucial, like some painting. We cut our paving in half this year which is a large amount of money, so some of those bigger projects have a direct impact on the tenants, as well as we’re really pleased to see that we’re going to see a lower property tax rate this year so that helps as well. But we basically have to help until they can get back open.
Dave: I’m not sure again on the sense of helping clients. How much do you help them navigate the government assistance? And is there any kind of nuance you could share? I’m sure everyone is aware of what’s out there but in terms of getting into the details of how can we help people that maybe are struggling with that, if there is any struggle?
Victoria: Yeah, and at the core of when I say help, I’m referring directly to the rent that we’re just basically going to forgive. But yes, we are helping. So it’s really tough because the government announcements come out and say “Okay here’s this rent incentive.” And then we get a 100 phone calls but the details of it don’t actually come out for 10 days or whatever and that is all just becoming clear. So we do have plans to actually help everyone who needs it with the application. So we we’re working on that right now. And we have an HR consultant that we use and, and you guys do lunch-and-learns, which we’ve often wanted to model and we’re going to start something like that for our tenants where she can go: “Here’s what the resources are” to offer that kind of assistance in HR strategies and things like that. So we do want to offer as much expertise as we can. We have some really great business partners, like our insurers Megson Fitzpatrick, who have worked with us so much on our risk management plan, which is why we find ourselves in a really stable position to weather this storm.
And you mentioned it Dave, I also think that the communication is a big thing because this all just breaks down and breaks down to human behavior and this is obviously a big deal and it’s really scary and there’s huge consequences but people panicking is I think the worst case scenario and it just adds to it. So, the constant communication, sharing of information passing on the confidence to people. We’re not just going to come at you and go: “you owe us six months worth of rent.” We know that that’s not possible. So I think having that confidence will really help and we will also talk to people. It’s really difficult to change contracts because most of our clients are in a five-year contract but what we can do is negotiate short-term changes that will allow them to get back up to full capacity.
Dave: That’s nice but I think it’s also smart business, the cost of getting new tenants and just the macro cost. So it’s great you’re doing that but it’s also great for you in that this help and loyalty and understanding will really I think long-term differentiate you.
Victoria: Absolutely, we do feel that this approach lives up to our values and we do feel that it lives up to what our business strategy is, which, again, is going back around to personal relationships with our tenants and with our community. And the reality is, if a business doesn’t have the money, they don’t have the money and I can’t change that. But what I can do is strengthen that relationship with them so that if they are having problems, they’ll call us and talk to us about it, and maybe there’s something that we can do to help.
So even if that’s helping with advertising strategy, “are you doing this?” We do have a lot of experience and expertise that we can share with some of these business people too, so it absolutely we believe is the best thing for our bottom line.
Paul: I think that’s great general business advice. We’re all relying on our customers’ success so let’s work with our customers to try to be successful during what’s probably the most difficult period that they’re going to experience. That’s great. I wonder, sort of high-level looking towards the future, are you thinking around long-term, mid-term, short-term… There’s definitely some things where if you’re thinking long term, you might be looking at, for example, reconfiguring spaces for social distancing. Maybe even renovating spaces for social distancing. Right? Have we crossed that bridge yet? Are we thinking that we are all going forget about this in six months? Or is this going to be the new reality of just human interaction for the next foreseeable few years? Even if the threat goes away, maybe the social stigma still survives right?
Victoria: Yeah, I think it’s going to be a combination of all those things. There are some things that just won’t change back and that’s probably a good thing. We’re not quite to the point of going, “How can we reconfigure space?” But certainly we’re thinking that down the road we’re just a little bit more immediate right now with getting businesses open and keeping our shopping centers safe. Again, we have an advantage because all of our shopping centers are all outdoor centers, which makes a lot of things a lot easier. We’re really stuck in this moment right now, just trying to get businesses back open. That’s our number one priority. It has changed. Believe it or not, we are still getting calls for space and it’s kind of really on the back burner we’re not physically showing space to people right now, so that’s kind of gone on the back burner and it’s really changed the way that we’re doing renewals because how do you renew your lease right now?
But at the same time to be fair to us, we do need to six months notice. We can’t have people going “okay, I’m leaving next week.” And I guess that’s where that relationship comes in and we go. You need to understand our point of it, where can we go from here? And hopefully, that confidence that we’re on your side and we’re going look after you will help you in making decisions about renewing.
Dave: To the longer term view again, it doesn’t sound like this is your focus but do you have a sense of the market? Do prices go up or down? Do vacancies go up or down? Are you seeing maybe opportunities where you’d maybe invest in a down market, if that’s the case that type of things?
Victoria: Yeah, I do think that there’s opportunities right now. And the founder of our company always said that that’s when you make money, is when times are bad. And we do have other investments as well so we definitely look at that and are seeing some opportunities right now. As far as down the road, I guess how I’m feeling is we’re going to be in the thick of this for at least this whole year. But I kind of see it like the online shopping was for us or is for us, right? Amazon is more of a threat to us I feel right now, then Covid. And feel that. We see gross sales for most of our tenants and that’s so we can get a feel for how different geographic areas are doing and different industries and we can see patterns, etcetera, so we can tell if it’s just an industry that’s having a tough time, or a specific business. But it does give us a little bit of knowledge of what’s going on. So we saw what you would expect to see as online shopping increased. And people love the convenience of it. I love the convenience of it. But what we’ve also seen as a shift back around to people need connection. And when the online shopping thing came out, what is our strategy against that?
Every road leads back to caring about the people who are our business partners and our customers. And I think that the shopping centers of the future are going to be where you go to have an experience where you go to gather with people and gathering is obviously going to look different, but I just mean that shopping centers need to look different and people need a real life experience. And I think after Covid where everybody’s really scared of that, I do believe that is going to pull people back around to their old shopping habits but maybe with more personal caution.
Dave: I was actually thinking about that with respect to the travel discussion we had earlier. And I do think actually people will need that again. I just think there’s the risk and we’re all looking at that differently but that’s such a big part of so many people’s lives. I think there’s going to be a big pent-up demand as well. I think when we get out of the fear and the reality of big risks out there I think there’s a need to explore the world that’s what humans do.
Paul: People will travel closer to home too, right? And I think a lot of smart companies that are planning ahead in tourism are thinking like if you’re a Victoria hotel that’s mostly empty right now and you’re planning three months from now you’re probably thinking, “Let’s do some promos to Seattle, Vancouver, Alberta, right?” As opposed to trying to draw people from Germany or Asia, right? You’re just going be thinking different strategically, I think about your target market, right?
Victoria: Yeah, I also think so. When I cancelled our Indonesia trip, I had paid for a couple of different boat trips that we were going to do. I put out quite a bit of money and I think I so far ended up losing about four-hundred dollars and a number of the companies came back to me before I could even ask and say, “Can we put your deposit forward to next year or in the future?” And I love that as a middle ground coming back to who should pay for all of this because I don’t think they should pay for it but I also see it personally an opportunity and if I’m able to, I will absolutely go to Indonesia next May and that’s what our plan is. So, I don’t personally feel put off from it, I think oh gosh, there’s going to be some deals.
Dave: Yeah, absolutely.
Paul: I think I’m a little bit different than Dave on that because I tend towards caution and that’s because I live with people that have health issues. But definitely a different point of view. But I loved cruising. I’m in for at least 10 times as much as you on a whole right now. So, I am anxious to try to use that. It’s nice of the companies to give me credit for the future, I just have to make sure that I actually use that credit and hopefully they stay in business as well, right?
Victoria: And that’s just it. And I look at my parent’s big cruise was an astronomical amount of money and they actually gave all the money back. I thought they would give a credit for the future or something like that, but yeah, they actually gave the money for the whole thing. There were two months into a six-month cruise, so it already used a big part of it. How is this company going to manage I don’t know.
Paul: I have flights for four booked to Europe in July. I don’t know what that’s going to look like but they haven’t cancelled the flight so we take every day as it comes like as. I think what’s neat, and the opportunity here is that there has been a mental shift. People, I get the sense people really feel like the importance of community is even stronger and importance of local and there’s been obviously some really negative bashing Amazon and bashing imports from various regions around the world. I don’t think that’s necessarily healthy but I think this concept of people wanting to do business locally. People do want to support local business. I’ll tell you a personal struggle for us because we have been more isolated probably than most people because of health concerns finding local sources here in Sooke because I live out in the sticks here, has been difficult. Even things like touch less pick-up at the hardware store wasn’t an option for us here. I know some places have been really innovative with that. There’s obviously more places that are delivering but that’s not always a viable option. I wonder if you’ve been working with some of your customers around being able to stay in business in more creative ways outside of people in the store buying stuff?
Victoria: Yeah, we are seeing that. And as an example, I dropped my dog off at the vet this morning and it was like a drive-through. So I went up to a window outside their space and I did the thing, and I’m talking to the doctor through the window and then they opened a door and the vet tech was there, and I just let her go at the leash length and she went… And so we’re seeing that kind of thing, for sure. A lot of sidewalk stuff? And that’s where I was talking about breaking the rules. We can’t give people permission to break the by-laws regarding signage or access or whatever it is, but you got to keep your business open so we’re just trying to do the best we can and while we won’t give you permission to break a rule will turn a blind eye if that’s what we got to do in the moment.
Paul: Do you see the potential for more of an organized movement towards people buying local? I know there’s been some pop-up Facebook groups about local businesses and things like that I’ve seen. And I know that the Chamber has been really active in trying to support and here in Sooke actually, they launched a website promoting local businesses and that sort of thing. So, I don’t know, do you see any macro trends, any particular things happening that are supporting that movement in a more sustainable way?
Victoria: Yeah, we definitely see that and we had seen it before, we’re very purposely led with small local businesses so that was already a big part of our scene. And we were all in Saanich, all of our shopping centers and when we do charitable giving we do it in our neighborhood and we want to just be part of our neighborhoods. And we feel like that’s what our customers want as well and that that’s who our customers are. So we don’t have a lot of big destination stores like a coach store or that sort of thing. It’s like we are just the neighborhood stores and so we’re already small business. But I do think from what I’ve seen personally that we are going see even more of a shift towards it, and I think that’s really exciting.
Dave: I don’t know that it’s reflecting on my own personal journey in this respect, but I find it more real now, too. There’s been a buy local thing in the past, but it’s now a connection to the people opposed to sort of just being… it’s a good idea. It seems like a deeper thing now. And I don’t know, again, it might just be me personally, but…
Victoria: And I agree with that, and I feel that personally. I’ve always been a buy local person, but I definitely feel that even more so and I like going into stores where I know the people, and they know me and they remember me and that is certainly the feeling I get with so many of the businesses even more so now, and we are not big social media people.
We keep making an effort because we feel like we’re supposed to, but we just actually decided in the fall that we’re not social media people were people, people and we’re going to stop putting our money into social media and we were going to use that money to hire another person so that that person can have personal interactions with our tenants when they call with the problem, someone’s going to show up at their space. So we already decided that we could be disruptive in that way, and so now we’re using our social media for… We’ve just been, the two of us Karen and I have been in the office, we’re isolating together and our husbands work together. So we were able to basically be like a four-person little family, which was really great so that we could continue to run our office and quarter back everything from there. Now I can’t even remember where I was going with that. So Karen and I have been just making funny videos because we decided at the very least, all we could do is just make people happy and hopefully, they can have a little bit of joy and that has required us to be very open personally and be willing to make a fool of ourselves on there and part of me goes, “Oh I have to do business with these people and I’m just going to let them see that side of me.” I’m quite a silly irreverent person. But the response has been so phenomenal. You’re just a person, I’m just a person. How are we going get through this together? That has been the predominant feeling and I love that that is the outcome of doing those videos as well.
Paul: Well, and for those of you who might be watching this on video, you should be aware that Dave did a major fundraiser to his head shaved. He promised he would keep a mullet for all of May if we raised enough money for the rapid relief fund and needless to say all the staff stepped up at Smart Dolphins because if there’s one thing we want to see it’s rapid relief in the community and Dave having a mullet.
Victoria: Oh I’m here for that, absolutely. And also we recognize that about you guys and love doing business with you just for that reason. The stuff that you guys do in the community, it just feels like our values align and maybe that’s what we’re seeing with people is. It really strips so much away when you’re in this type of circumstance and when you see that your values align I think that goes a really, really long way.
Paul: Well, and I grew up here in Victoria and I’ve been a part of the Smart Dolphins team for five years and it’s always been great. I’ve always felt really proud of being part of this team. But when this all went down and I just saw the way that everyone on the team really stepped up to help in the community. Because let’s just face it, the reality is we still have a job we’re still earning an income a lot of people are not, and it’s not through any fault of their own at all. And so just seeing how my co-workers stepped up for me, I haven’t felt more proud being part of this team when that happened, so it’s really great. And of course, we also got to see Dave shave his head.
Victoria: Yeah, well I’m not willing to do that, I would do other things. I think going back to when we talk about our values and how much we care about people that really starts with our employees and I just can’t tell you how proud I am of our team and the way that they have all stepped up to keep our business going. It’s just unbelievable. And we had all of our operations team who are the guys who actually work outside and physically look after the shopping centers, they all worked for free on the Easter long weekend to say thank you for having their jobs, and how they’ve been treated. And again, why would that not be part of your business strategy? No business out there can do anything without their people. So we’re just so proud of the team that we have.
Dave: I was going to ask you about sentiment and I’ve been fairly optimistic and as we’re talking here today, I think part of it is the sense of this, this connection, this alignment of values this local feel. As bad as things are, if this comes out of that, if this connection comes out of this, I guess return to these values. I can’t help but feel some optimism as bad as it is for many. I will actually come back to the question, what do you sense is the short-term optimism? We’ve got BC’s restart plan. You’re talking to the businesses that have struggled. Are they speaking optimistically? Is another shoe going to drop? What’s your sense?
Victoria: I think that the short answer is yes, optimism. I mean, obviously, there’s a mix depending on what industry you’re in, or whatever position you’re in. But overall, I would say that it’s optimism. And the stuff that we’re seeing is not just our interaction with them but it’s two other tenants coming together to do something between the two of them, to help each other out. So I think there’s been that building of community just amongst the neighbors in the shopping centers as well. Optimism is answer.
Paul: Well I think human nature, we all want try to find a silver lining to what otherwise been horrible situation. And I think we need to embrace those. If there’s something good that can come out of this, whether it’s people thinking more locally, people learning to understand and respect that people are at the heart of businesses locally. That’s good but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s still a lot of, obviously a lot of damage that’s been done to the economy and to people. But at the same time, we should appreciate the fact we’re all pulling together more, right?
Victoria: Totally. And I think that’s aided by the fact that everybody is in the same position. So it’s different than if you have an earthquake and one building falls down and one doesn’t, but everybody is kind of in the same boat. And I kind look at it on how I do a triathlon, which is, if it’s pouring rain and super windy and the morning that is really crappy for my race, but everybody has the exact same circumstances and…Well, I don’t wish for everybody to be in the circumstance. I do think it kind of makes it better. Again, going to people pulling together people being able to relate to each other. There’s awesome benefits that will come out of that as well. So I don’t want to under-play, how difficult this is for people and for businesses. I really understand that people are having a tough time feeding their families. I don’t want to make light of that, but there is all of this good stuff that’s going to come out of it and I think we are all going to come out of it and be better.
Paul: Well, on that note, I think we could put a ribbon on it. So thank you so much, Victoria for being with us today, here on our brand new podcast and hopefully, you’ll get to join us again in the future. This has been really great and this is the start of something we plan on doing for many years ahead hopefully with far more positive reports but happy that we were able to end it on a positive note. Dave, thanks for you, thanks for being part of the team today.
Victoria: Thanks for the mullet. It’s been really great chatting with you guys I appreciate the patience.
Dave: Thank you Victoria.
Every road leads back to caring about the people who are our business partners and our customers. And I think that the shopping centers of the future are going to be where you go to have an experience, where you go to gather with people and gathering is obviously going to look different, but…I do believe that is going to pull people back around to their old shopping habits but maybe with more personal caution.