Coronavirus: Kingston small business owners do a major rethink during pandemic

Click to play video: 'Small business owners do a major rethink on their operating strategies during pandemic'
Small business owners do a major rethink on their operating strategies during pandemic
A group of Kingston small business owners meet weekly online to discuss, navigated and change the way they do business to survive during the COVID-19 crisis – Apr 28, 2020

With non-essential services closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic, small business owners have had to do a major rethink on their operating strategies.

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, there are 1.1-million small- and medium-sized businesses across Canada — employing 7.7-million people.

“There is a lot of uncertainty right now,” says Ron Shore.

Ron Shore, owner of Stone City Ales, joins ‘Inspire Local Panel’ webinar. Global News

And that’s an absolute necessity, say some small business owners in today’s economy.

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Shore is the owner of Kingston, Ont.,- based Stone City Ales and took part in a recently launched weekly webinar with other local small business owners, trying to navigate the new normal in order to survive the pandemic.

READ MORE: Business urged to use coronavirus wage subsidy calculator now but money won’t flow until May

“I had a 48-hour period where we lost six figures in revenue, which for us that is massive,” says Braden Dragomir, one of the organizers of the “Inspire Local Panel”, a live Tuesday webinar series.

Braden Dragomir, founder of Make Hay Media, co-hosts ‘Inspire Local Panel’ webinar. Braden Dragomir/Global News

Dragomir is also the founder of Make Hay Media, a Kingston film and video production company.

“How do we use our experience and perspective to hopefully inspire some of these small businesses to start rethinking some of their business practices, and how can they change and how can they keep going?” says Dragomir.

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Stone City Ales had to transition from a community-focused taproom and restaurant setting to a no-contact delivery service.

“I don’t think you can go back to what we had before,” says Shore, “and I don’t think that is going to happen soon.

READ MORE: ‘Like a stab to the belly’: Lethbridge business survey reveals struggles during COVID-19

“What we have been hearing from the hospital community, is that hospital design after this pandemic — for instance in a hospital, quickly change a cafeteria into more hospital rooms,” explains Glenn Bostock.

Bostock is the founder and CEO of Snapcab, a Kingston company now focused on adapting their portable quiet office space modules into isolation and testing rooms for hospitals.

“We’ve got this group of community doctors working with us, to perfect the testing pods,” says Bostock, “and we are also making these modular hospital pods.”

“We won’t be back to normal until at least next January,” adds Dragomir.

It is unclear how long businesses will have to operate this way, but many small businesses are preparing for a long haul.

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All businesses, large or small, can now apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The program is expected to cost the federal treasury $73 billion this year.

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