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Community-Serving Retail

Strathcona BIA, Dunefield and Youth Collaborative for Chinatown are creating opportunities for affordable and culturally significant businesses through their tenanting within underused Chinese society buildings and other not-for-profit properties in Vancouver’s Strathcona and Chinatown neighbourhoods.


We want to challenge that the decline and displacement of community-minded and heritage businesses is inevitable. Our focus is on getting the next generation of entrepreneurs interested and ready to start their own ventures, while ensuring that existing (family) businesses can thrive and reinvent themselves.


With over 50 Chinese society buildings – and dozens of other not-for-profit properties – in Strathcona and Chinatown, there is great potential for securing these spaces for businesses that provide benefit to the local community. We repurpose such underused commercial spaces for community-serving retail.


Many Chinese societies and other not-for-profit groups are struggling financially and lack the capacity to properly manage, renovate and tenant out their – often aging but favourably located – properties. We help them attract tenants who are a good fit with their culture and values, and can bring financial relief.


This program is a collaboration between partners who each belief in the importance of community-serving business. Strathcona BIA represents the business community and aims to see its members thrive in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. Youth Collaborative for Chinatown is a network of youth bringing back the “hot and noisy” atmosphere of Vancouver’s Chinatown and activating its public spaces. The City of Vancouver provides co-funding for the project to foster community economic development in the Downtown Eastside. We also thank Haeccity Studio Architecture for their valuable contributions to make our first pilot project a success.


We want to make this project a true community effort, and reach and collaborate with as many stakeholders in Chinatown and Strathcona as possible.

  • Do you have underused commercial space? Is it in need of renovations or upgrades?
  • Do you want to start a community-serving business?
  • Are you an existing business in need of help to grow and remain successful?
  • Are you interested in learning more and helping the program?

Read more on the project website and learn how you can participate: