Alberta Businesses Pivot During COVID-19
No one could have predicted that the year 2020 would include a worldwide pandemic that would impact families, businesses, communities, cities, provinces and countries the way it has.
There's been so much devastation and lots of local businesses have been hit really hard. But, during this unprecedented, uncertain and challenging time, we've also seen incredible resilience and ability to pivot among the local business community across Canada.
We asked a few of our amazing Alberta Shop Local CANADA members how they have pivoted and adapted their business to make the best of a really tough situation. See what they have to say below!
How have you had to Pivot and adapt your Business During Covid-19?
Modern Emulsions based in Calgary, AB
"Due to COVID-19, my retailers have temporarily closed, as have my markets and art shows. I also create a lot of large wall art, but those requests have dwindled. I pivoted by creating a lot of mini artwork, offered contactless curbside pick-up, and flat shipping fees, and it has resulted in really great interest and sales. People genuinely want to support local, and the smaller price point provided a great opportunity to buy original art"
Alberta's Own Marketplace based in Canmore, AB
"As a brick-and-mortar shop located in a destination mountain town, COVID-19 required Alberta’s Own to completely shift our sales model and adjust our product offering, literally overnight. Since opening three years ago, we have enjoyed welcoming visitors to the Canadian Rockies, and sharing the talents of local craftspeople and artists so that they can take home an authentic memento of their trip. Our goal has been to create an exceptional customer experience, and so we made the purposeful decision to focus on in-person relationships rather than divert resources to e-commerce. But with nearly 150 local artisans who rely on the store to help support their families, high overhead expenses that don’t stop accumulating even when the doors shut, and staff who depend on us, shutting down completely simply wasn’t an option"
"We closed March 19, and quickly came up with a three-pronged approach to transition from in-store to online within 24 hours. The first was social media flash sales, which launched immediately, to share one-of-a-kind items for our artists. The second step was developing an online store as quickly as possible; to manage this, we opened the offering with a series of themed, 100% Albertan-made mystery boxes that offer a great pick-me-up to send as gifts, or indulge in for oneself. Finally, with the online platform in place, we’ve continued to build out the offering of individual products available on the website....
Throughout the past six weeks, my heart has been filled to bursting with the incredible outpouring of kindness and generosity from our vendor family and so many local-loving supporters. In every storm there is light to be found, and the goodness of people has been that warm comfort needed through this time of turbulence.
The community will become stronger because of the challenges we’ve faced together, knowing that we all have each others’ backs when the winds of change come"
Cover Story Styling based in Calgary, AB
"Cover Story Styling was an in-person business - wardrobe edits, personal shopping and styling, photo shoot styling...so the shut down, shut me down. Or it tried to!
I decided to open up Virtual Wardrobe Edit Sessions and Virtual Personal Shopping. Using video chat we get to go through your closet together, build outfits, have fun, and create a wardrobe that truly works for you. With the Virtual Personal Shopping, I do all the online shopping legwork and provide you with links to the perfect pieces that fit your body type, budget, style and lifestyle. The Virtual aspect has opened up a lot of possibilities, and allows me to work with clients that are across the country!"
Spot Power from Calgary, AB
"Our entire team has had to transition to work from home, but that has not affected our customer care services or enrollment services negatively in any way. We are fully operational and our hours have remained the same during the COVID-19 shut down.
Since many people in the province are having a difficult time paying their utility bills, Spot Power, under an initiative announced by the Government of Alberta, has implemented a Utility Relief Program to assist Albertans that are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. If you lost your job, or you have had to leave work to isolate, or take care of an ill family member, you qualify for this program. The program came into effect on March 18, 2020 and will run through June 19, 2020. It is designed to provide temporary financial relief by allowing for a 90-day deferral of utility payments for residential, farm, and small commercial customers. Under the program, customers have the option of either deferring the bills entirely during the 90-day period, or setting up a customized payment plan to help manage their bills. Additionally, Non-Sufficient Fund (NSF) fees for outstanding charges have been waived and disconnections for non-payment have been suspended. Customers do not have to fear being disconnected during this stressful time. The total amount of the deferred invoices and the repayment of the full amount will be spread out over the 12-month period from July 2020 to June 2021"
Blush & Darling from LloyDminster, AB
"We haven’t had to pivot too much as an online business. What we have been doing for our customers is free shipping on all orders, and also a 15% discount site wide for ALL essential workers. That includes health care, delivery, store clerk, janitorial, etc. We’ve had great response by our consumer and we hope to build stronger relationships because of it. What I have noticed is an incline in consumers supporting small businesses and shopping local, which is a beautiful thing! We’re all in this together!"
YYC Wax from Calgary, AB
"We've expanded our DIY offerings to include more supplies and introduced a brand new online workshop with accompanying kit, started a weekly lunch and learn series, dropped our free shipping minimums, introduced a new 24/7 physical distance friendly locked pickup box, and I'm sure other things I can't remember. It has been so humbling to see the huge local support we've been seeing. Makes us so happy to be part of such an amazing and supportive community!"
These stories confirm what we already knew to be true about Canadian local shop owners - they're some of the most resilient and hardworking group of people out there.
It's so inspiring to hear how these Alberta businesses have pivoted during COVID-19 and how they got creative and turned this challenge into an opportunity to adapt and grow their businesses. We are honoured to partner and collaborate with such inspiring and resilient business owners and it's been incredible to see them all flourish during this challenging time.