Smoky area businesses persevering

Some small businesses in Falher say the COVD pandemic is not all bad.
Small businesses in McLennan also continue to deal with how customers are changing shopping habits.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Small retail businesses in the Falher and McLennan areas continue to persevere as the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic continues.
Red Apple store in Falher is busier now than before the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to an increase in local shoppers.
“People are doing the whole shop-local thing,” store manager Michelle Dovell says.
“We have noticed more people shopping local and not going out to bigger centres and communities.”
Shoppers are buying lots of the essentials, along with fun and games.
“We are selling a lot more clothing and bedding, as well as crafts and board games,” Dovell says.
However, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with the demand, she notes.
“Suppliers are telling us that items are taking longer to offload in the ports,” Dovell says.
“Receiving ports are making ships quarantine before they can offload the containers.
“The supply chain is definitely backed up.”
Sammy’s Steak and Pizza in Falher is getting more business than one year ago, owner Mohammad Butt says.
“Business is pretty good,” Butt says.
“Now that we can have dine-in, it’s better than just takeout.”
Under new restrictions starting Sept. 20, customers who want to dine in are required to show proof of double vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 24 hours.
“It does affect business a bit,” Butt says.
“For those not vaccinated, people can still order take-out.”
“Slowly people are catching on to the restrictions.
“It’s amazing how low vaccination rates are in the area.”
Falher IDA Pharmacy and McLennan IDA Pharmacy have seen business change during the pandemic. New owner of both stores, Jessica Hadfield, says the pandemic has caused businesses to be creative.
Innovation is a key to survival and to being successful in today’s pandemic situation, says Hadfield, who bought the two stores from Ron and Barb Gardecki in March 2021.
“Business owners are having to reassess their business plans on a weekly and monthly basis.”
She also co-owns Pharmasave Valleyview and Pharmasave Junction Point.
“We can no longer predict what a Halloween, Christmas or New Year season may look like or what new demands or changes will occur in our business,” Hadfield says.
“Versatility and ingenuity in today’s business world has been essential to survival.”
The pandemic itself has expanded the roles of pharmacies to meet demands.
“In the past year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacy business has been hugely impacted,” Hadfield says.
“Our pharmacy teams spend much time answering questions about vaccinations, travel, and how to keep individuals and their families safe.
The pharmacy has had to help fill in the gap with the physician shortage and strain on hospital resources, she says.
“We have had to enlist our entire store team to help provide COVID-19 vaccinations to our local community and now have branched out by providing asymptomatic COVID-19 rapid tests for those needing it for work, travel, and peace of mind,” Hadfield says.
“We have tried to stay responsive to help meet the ever-changing needs of the community during these difficult times.
“Businesses have to be creative in this new environment at finding ways to provide services to their customers when requirements and legislations are constantly changing.”

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