For Andrew Peck, the new executive director of the Glebe Business Improvement Area, right before Christmas was the “perfect time” to jump into his new job.
Andrew Peck is the executive director of the Glebe BIA.
By Jacob Serebrin
“It was peak period, it’s a shopping district,” said Mr. Peck who started on Dec. 9.
He took over from Christine Leadman, who moved north to head up the Bank Steet BIA last year.
The fact that the area was busy gave him the chance not only to meet with store owners and their staff but also with shoppers.
Meeting people has been the first order of business, said Mr. Peck.
“I’ve probably been in every single store in the Glebe,” he said.
Mr. Peck said that meeting with stakeholders and reading reports are important steps as he continues to learn his new role.
“I’m very new, there’s a fairly steep learning curve,” he said. “This is the time to listen and learn.”
With the Glebe’s businesses facing stiff competition from online stores, malls and big box centres, Mr. Peck said a big part of his job is “telling the story” of what sets the Glebe apart.
“I want everyone to know that the Glebe is open for business and that there’s a place to park your car.”
He said a big part of the area’s charm is its mix between commercial and residential.
“It’s a very familiar area,” he said. “Original, classic, urban downtown.”
One thing that does help the Glebe stand out is that “there’s a lot of unique businesses that don’t exist anywhere else,” he said.
For Mr. Peck, the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, which he expects to draw more people to the area is one of the things that’s come up during his conversations with local business owners and residents.
“I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be,” said Mr. Peck, who said he was pleased to find that most people he’s spoken to have a positive attitude towards the redeveloped park.
Mr. Peck said that he sees the BIA as being a “community-based organization.”
“On one hand you’re there to help business,” he said, “but you’re operating in a community.”
Mr. Peck has been a small business owner and said he has extensive retail experience.
“I understand boutique retailing,” he said. “I get it, I’ve done it.”
He said he can also draw on his experience in marketing to promote the neighbourhood and his previous job, running an entrepreneurship program at the National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA, gave him experience working with the community.
Despite his diverse resume, Mr. Peck said he plans to be at the Glebe BIA “for the long haul.”
“This is precisely what I want to be doing,” he said.
“I want to help businesses join together and create a better, more competitive business area,” he said, adding that he wants to “create the conditions that allow them to thrive.”