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Year in Review: Richmond business stories that made the headlines in 2020

From restaurants closing to airlines surviving and some Richmond favourites gone forever, 2020 was not dull
The 7-Eleven store at Williams and No. 3 roads closed down. Google Streetview

Restaurants in Richmond started to show signs of trouble due to the pandemic as early as March, with many, particularly the Chinese ones, closing their doors.

James Liu, owner of the Marine Bay Restaurant on Alexandra Road, told the Richmond News that Asian eateries were going under at an alarming rate.

At the Empire Centre, an Asian shopping strip mall close to Aberdeen Station, numerous shops were closed, often citing renovations as the cause.


An HIV self-test developed by Richmond-based bioLytical Laboratories became the first of its kind to be approved in Canada.

Health Canada granted a license for the one-minute, finger-prick blood test — known as the Insti HIV Self Test.

It’s hoped that the test will help fight HIV in Canada, where 63,000 people are estimated to have the disease.


Richmond’s Harbour Air came “virtually to a grinding halt” due to the pandemic, but the airline was flexible in terms of its ability to dial capacity up or down, compared to larger airlines, according to its CEO Greg McDougall.

Harbour Air cancelled its scheduled flights in late March, grounding its 43 planes, which normally carry passengers around B.C. and to Seattle.

In June, the airline began ramping up some of its operations, with more scheduled flights taking to the air.

Airlines were hit hard by the pandemic, grounding flights in the wake of travel restrictions put in place around the globe to limit the spread of COVID-19.


Like so many businesses this year, the funeral industry had to roll with the COVID-19 punches in order to safely operate during the pandemic.

Unlike some similar end-of-life service providers in Vancouver — which have reported a downturn in business since the pandemic started, possibly due to people in care homes being wrapped in a bubble — Richmond Funeral Home said in the fall nothing much had changed.

The one aspect of their business that had, however, changed dramatically since March was the ability for their funeral services to reach more family and friends around the globe than ever before.

Richmond Funeral — on Cambie Road, between No. 3 and Garden City roads — started live-streaming services, from the crematorium to the graveside.


One of Richmond’s longest running bakeries, Broadmoor Bakery, closed after serving the community for more than 61 years.

The independent Dutch-style bakery, at Broadmoor Shopping Centre at No. 3 and Williams roads, changed hands five years ago. Bakery owner Tom Hsu said the city’s changing demographic, people’s diets and the pandemic all played a part in his decision to call it a day.


One of Richmond’s oldest 7-Elevens announced in December it was closing down before the end of the year.

The corner store, at Williams and No. 3 roads, was believed to date back at least 50 years.