These past few years we have gone through inflation, rising interest rates, and even a pandemic. But despite all of that, Steinbach has not stopped growing.
Christine Beaumont from the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce says we have a very stable and diverse economy here.
"When we look at the pandemic and the impact it's had on the community in Steinbach here and surrounding area, we've been able to weather that storm maybe a lot better than other communities have been able to,” she says. “We have manufacturing, logistics, professional services. We've seen some of those sectors and businesses expand.”
Beaumont adds we have a skilled and growing workforce, and the demographics show that we have a very young community and steady immigration.
“We have settled through Eastman Immigrant Services 300 individual newcomers in 2022, which is almost double the numbers from previous years.”
She says we have very strong attributes in our community which will help us to continue to grow.
“Access to healthcare, safety, affordable housing, and a really good quality of life which helps to bring people to our community and keep them here.”
Although a few businesses have recently closed in Steinbach, the chamber’s membership throughout the pandemic has been very stable at around 450 members.
"That doesn't represent all of the businesses in the Southeast, but definitely, that's a large number of them and that has stayed fairly stable.”
Steinbach has had many new businesses open up in the last year, such as Transolutions Truck Centers, BMS Medical & Health, and Brandt Pharmacy.
“Even when you're in the middle of a pandemic and one of the hardest hit sectors was the food industry, we have seen restaurants pop up.”
Wendy's, Burrito Bar, and Prairie Donair are some examples of this.
Beaumont says that during a time where other places faced a lot of challenges and closures, Steinbach and area has fared quite well.
“Some of these major projects have massive economic spin-off, including the Rest Haven Expansion that we saw in 2022, the HyLife Head Office and Millbrook Market development happening,” she says. “And then you've got the large residential and commercial Penn-co development behind the Clear Spring Mall, and the Southeast Event Center moving forward.”
She says those are all major things that are continuing to happen, and they will bring a lot of growth and continued economic development to our region.
She notes our local business owners are staying positive despite recent inflation.
"You can't deny that there is a level of uncertainty, given that inflation has gone up, costs of inputs have gone up, labor costs, and interest rates rising,” she says. “Despite all those things, I would see that there's definitely a level of optimism within our business community.”
She believes the community is well positioned for long term growth.
“A lot of our local priorities align with some of the provincial priorities as well: focusing on attracting newcomers, upscaling in different sectors, innovation, we're seeing a lot of those things happening,” she says. “I think we have a lot of reason for optimism and I think our business community here is very strong, very innovative, very progressive, and we can weather some of these challenges.”
With files from Corny Rempel