London Inc. Weekly 06 • 15 • 2018

New coworking space targets start-ups and independent contractors

A NEW COWORKING space dubbed WrkHub has opened at 195 Dufferin Avenue. Spread out over 7,000 square feet, the layout has been designed to offer affordable and convenient workspace to individuals or small companies.

Heather Macpherson, founder of WrkHub, says she wanted to create a space to help young start-ups and independent contractors thrive. “I’ve always believed in the power of collaboration and I wanted to take this beautiful space and share it with others who are just getting started,” she says. “In our consulting work, we are consistently pushing our clients to transform their workplace and this was a perfect opportunity for me to do so.”

Macpherson is also president and CEO of The Minery, a web-based workplace performance and improvement solutions firm that operates from the same address.

Officially opened on June 11, WrkHub offers three different membership packages, ranging from $100 to $400 a month.


Housing starts continue to trail 2017 totals

WITH A LACK of large apartment projects, the housing start numbers in the London-St. Thomas region continue to trail 2017 totals.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., there were 185 housing starts in May compared to 235 in the same month last year, a continuation of a trend seen earlier this year.

There were 43 multi-family unit starts in May, compared to 95 in May 2017. Single-detached unit starts totalled 142, two more than in the same month last year.

So far this year there have been 588 single-detached starts, slightly more than the January to May last year, but there have been only 307 starts for apartments, townhouses and duplexes, less than half the total of last year.

In total there have been 895 housing starts this year, well below the 1,383 in the same period last year.

A number of large apartment buildings are in the planning stages in London, but none of them broke ground in May.

Last year, strength in the resale home market helped push the annual number of housing starts to a record 3,967 units. The old record, 3,674 starts, was set in 2006.


Mirvish Productions launches bus service between London and Toronto

TORONTO-BASED MIRVISH Productions is taking a page from the Stratford and Shaw festivals and providing a direct bus service for its patrons.

Whereas those theatre festivals bus people from Toronto to Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake and back, Mirvish’s service will ferry theatre goers from London, Woodstock, Kitchener, Morriston (just outside Guelph) and Milton.

The Mirvish Express is available for people attending Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday matinees beginning July 4, and will cost between $30 and $50 return depending on the pickup spot, although discounts are available. There are also special seven-trip packages for matinee subscribers.

The London pick-up and drop-off point is the London Ramada at 817 Exeter Road.

The air-conditioned, wifi-equipped Great Canadian Holidays coaches will drop patrons at the Royal Alexandra, Princess of Wales or Ed Mirvish theatres in time for lunch with pickup at the theatres post-show.


Gammage Flowers sold, moving to Commissioners Road West

RETIRING FROM THE business, Judite Holder has sold Gammage Flowers—Canada’s oldest flower shop—and is closing the 747 Waterloo Street location.

Aisha Saeed, owner of Dundas Flowers, has purchased Gammage Flowers and will move the business to a new location on Commissioners Road West.

The building at 747 Waterloo was sold prior to the business, and according to Holder there is interest in turning the location into a medical facility. Three additional Holder-run businesses—Razzle Dazzle Cupcakes, Wright’s Send A Basket and Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut—are now owned and operated by Holder’s daughter, and will remain in the building.

Gammage Flowers was established in 1869 by James Gammage. The original Gammage Flowers store and greenhouses were located on what is now Gammage Street in London. The Gammage family sold the business in 1971 to London businessman John McKerlie, who relocated the store to Waterloo Street in 1982.


Jobless rate falls to second-lowest rate ever recorded

THE LONDON-AREA JOBLESS rate fell to 5.3 per cent in May, the second-lowest rate ever recorded.

Statistics Canada said the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for the London region was in August 2004, when it stood at 4.8 per cent.

According to Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic, the strong employment result is tied in part to the strength of the U.S. economy, noting the link between Ontario’s gross domestic product (GDP) and the American economy is stronger than between some individual U.S. states with their national economy. “London, being where it is, is more exposed to trade and manufacture than other regions,” Kavcic said in an interview with The London Free Press.

Kavcic says the U.S. GDP is cruising along at a three per cent growth rate, aided by President Trump’s tax cuts, but warns of the impact of a potential trade war, citing recent U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and threats to expand tariffs to additional sectors, such as automotive and agri-food.

“We are already seeing evidence that peak growth is behind us in Ontario and Canada overall, and that’s before anything happens on the trade front.”


Business Events Calendar

Featured Event:

London Chamber of Commerce June Business After Five

The London Chamber’s monthly networking and socializing event, hosted by Columbia Sportswear.

 

Upcoming Events:

London Multicultural Festival: June 17, 2018

Brunchfest: June 17. 2018

Bridging the Talent Gap: June 20, 2018

Starting a Small Business Seminar: June 20, 2018

London Chamber Business After Five: June 21, 2018

Diversity in Philanthropy-Why It Matters: June 21, 2018

London International Food Festival: June 22-24, 2018

Screenwriting Fundamentals Masterclass: June 23-24, July 7-8

Startup Drinks London: June 26, 2018

E.P.I.C. Networking: June 26, 2018

Getting Social Series Part 4: June 27, 2018

Business Planning Basics Session 1: June 27, 2018

Ignite Your Sales Potential: June 28, 2018

Systems Thinking Exchange: June 28, 2018

Business Planning Basics Sessions 2 & 3: June 28, 2018