As needs within the community of Bella Bella have grown and changed over time, business units have been situated in their current locations without any deliberate strategic planning. As such, most HEDC businesses are spread throughout the community, which has several drawbacks including the duplication of expenses and the difficulty of attracting visitors to the various locations. HEDC hypothesized that a single, central business centre could solve these problems and even encourage more local purchasing which would limit the amount of ‘economic leakage’ caused by members making purchases outside the community. Sauder S3i was tasked with developing a commercial centre concept that could achieve these objectives. A Sauder S3i Graduate Fellow and Sauder MBA, concentrated on the plan’s revenue growth and business consolidation opportunities. Since a new facility would be required to realize the concept, we partnered with the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at UBC to generate potential commercial centre designs.
As the project progressed, it became apparent that the substantial costs of an infrastructure project of this type would prove prohibitive, considering the ongoing recession and the limited capital available to HEDC and the Tribal Council. For these reasons, our analysis expanded to include more long-term planning which included efforts to improve the performance of existing businesses. This work centered on providing recommendations to reduce cost inputs, create overall efficiencies and foster increased patronage of HEDC businesses.