Advertisement

Grocery program bringing Saskatchewan communities together during coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Grocery program bringing communities together during pandemic' Coronavirus: Grocery program bringing communities together during pandemic
WATCH: Restaurants in Saskatchewan have started using a grocery program as a means of making ends meet but also to help out their communities – Apr 19, 2020

Restaurants and other small businesses in Saskatchewan are staying afloat during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic by joining a recently launched program in which they temporarily convert into grocery stores.

The program was pitched to each business by its sales representative from Sysco Canada, which is also supplying the groceries. The businesses then sell groceries to customers.

People can place their grocery orders online, pay and then pick up or have them dropped off at their door.

As a result, customers have recently been going to the Thrive Discipleship Program at Bethany College in Hepburn, Sask., to pick up grocery orders as part of the new program, which is also aimed at helping the community during the pandemic.

“The primary reason was to sort of reach the community and keep our presence alive and absolutely help people,” said Thrive Discipleship Program president Darryl Balzer.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Quarantine cooking and baking sourdough bread with a Top Chef Canada contestant

A month into turning The Jug Family Restaurant in Eston into a grocery store, the response and support have been strong.

“I’ve always found small-town towns pull together like crazy,” said chief cook Ken Durocher.

“They really are stepping up and supporting us on the grocery side of the business knowing the restaurant side is down substantially.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: COVID-19 teen survivor has a message for young people – pay attention' Coronavirus: COVID-19 teen survivor has a message for young people – pay attention
Coronavirus: COVID-19 teen survivor has a message for young people – pay attention – Apr 19, 2020

Chocolate Bean Cafe and Gift Shop owner Chelsy Murray in Melville says she could see this program become a part of her business model when the pandemic ends.

“I would continue to do it,” she said. “It wouldn’t look the same as it does now. I would need to tweak it and figure out a way to make it work as well as the cafe.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Cashiers have ‘always been essential’ — What it’s like to work at a grocery store during COVID-19

In many cases, it allows for a business to stay afloat.

“The beauty of it is it has actually been enough revenue to pay rent on the restaurant,” said Dorucher.

“So, that’s sort of one thing we can put it out of our minds.”

All three believe they will remain busy with their orders through the end of the pandemic.

Sponsored content