Via a reader, Librairie Astro, a popular comics shop in Montreal is running a GoFundMe campaign to help with tax bills. Announcement below.
The economic climate for small business is always challenging but, since the recession of 2008, the challenges have gotten much harder. Small businesses in the City of Montreal are no exception and one store, Librairie Astro, a specialist in comic books and graphic novels, is struggling to survive.
The main culprit is a much higher than expected commercial tax bill. The 2014 annual survey compiled and analyzed by Altus Group for the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac) found that Montreal’s estimated commercial property taxes per $1,000 of assessment was $37.12, the highest of Canada’s major cities and well above the average of $24.25. Montreal’s residential property taxes per $1,000 of assessment was $8.27, lower than the average. The result is a commercial-to-residential ratio of 4.49, also the highest of Canada’s major cities.
“Montreal’s a great place to live; we love it here,” noted Paul Stock, Librairie Astro’s owner. “Mr. Denis Coderre’s administration is actually getting things done. Now we’re getting winter snow removal, those legendary potholes are getting filled in, and streets are even getting resurfaced, something we haven’t really seen for over a decade. But these improvements come at a cost. Our yearly city tax bill has swollen to an enormous size, leaving us with a significant shortfall.”
“Winter has never been easy, but the past few years have been particularly harsh,” Stock added. “People have learned that a good way to deal with the cold is to cocoon. Cocooning may be a smart way to deal with winter, but it’s a killer for us. With few people (and therefore little money) coming in, there was simply no way we could be ready for the city tax bill that hit at the end of March.”
Stock hopes that using GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform, can help offset the difference. “Landlords pay the tax bills first, then they pass the cost on to their commercial tenants,” Stock noted. “This puts our backs so tight against the wall that we’re trying a GoFundMe crowdfunder. We’re just a small independent book/comic shop, not some huge outfit. We’re hard-working people trying to stay afloat.”
About Librairie Astro: Librairie Astro, established in 1984, is one of Canada’s largest comic retailers. Based in Montreal, Librairie Astro is also a used bookstore, buying and selling thousands of books, comics, cards, CDs, and videos daily.
About GoFundMe: Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform. With a community of more than 25 million donors, GoFundMe is changing the way the world gives.
c/o Librairie Astro
1844 Ste.Catherine St.W.
Montreal, Que, Canada H3H 1M1
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.