Executive and artistic director of the Broadway Theatre Kirby Wirchenko knows that bottom line well, given that the theatre has been on the street since 1846.
“Our business health only works when we all work.”
“When they choose to say, come to Saskatoon for the weekend. Again, (that’s) getting a hotel room, taking in the Shakespeare (on the Saskatchewan), doing some shopping, maybe going for some groceries on the way out of town,” he added.
The theatre is one of western Canada’s busiest event centres.
In many cases business owners have had to get creative to find ways to keep operations going since the pandemic began, such as online services or personal delivery orders.
“We made it a point early on and started to offer the takeaway services and free delivery services right away,” said Calories Restaurant owner and chef Taszia Thakur.
“That helped us out. We got on the bandwagon early.”
Thakur says the two owners have taken on the role of delivering orders themselves up to two times a day.
For smaller retail stores on the strip, COVID-19 has presented a lot of challenges that will remain even when they are allowed to reopen — such as keeping up with social distancing rules for shoppers.
Clothing store Prairie Proud has been on the block for roughly a year. Its owner feels it will be a case-by-case situation for each store.
“Ultimately retail stores are going to have different protocols when it comes to what is happening in their respective stores,” said Cole Thorpe.
He says the store’s online section has received lots of business during the pandemic from people across the prairie provinces.
It will take a while to get back to any resemblance of a new normal. As businesses and their customers cope with adjusting to the new way of life — something that won’t happen overnight.
“I think this will easily be a 12 to 18-month cycle before we maybe approach where we were at the start of it,” Wirchenko added.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes to two years.”
Some retail locations will be allowed to reopen on May 19 as part of the provinces reopening of the economy. Others will have to take the wait and see approach into the summer. Many of the restaurants and the Theatre fall into phase 3 or 4 of the plan.