This year has been a struggle for Alberta business. Businesses were forced to close temporarily or drastically reduce capacity in the spring and again in December due to COVID-19 restrictions, with some closing their doors permanently.
But other businesses have managed to stay afloat through the pandemic and are ending 2020 on a positive note.
“The support of the local community — online, curb-side pickup, local drop off — has been amazing,” Keylime Athletic Wear owner Kristy Wozniak said.
“This has been one of the best Christmases that we had in the last 12 years.”
Wozniak said sales at her Sherwood Park store increased by 30 per cent over the holiday season compared to years past and online sales have doubled.
She credits community support — not only during the holidays but through the entire pandemic.
“We’re all trying to help and support each other — all us local businesses, everyone out there,” Wozniak said.
“We’ve donated, for years, to local hockey teams and charities and I think everyone’s just trying to support us local businesses going forward.”
Kristen Lang is the owner of K Lee Boutique, with locations in Sherwood Park and Edmonton. She feels fortunate to have been allowed to remain open through the holiday season amid the most recent government restrictions.
Lang said her sale results have been mixed over the holiday season.
“The Edmonton store’s been a bit of a struggle, a lot of the businesses in our strip mall aren’t open. There’s a dance studio next to us that’s not open and we get a lot of dance moms from there, which unfortunately has effected us at this location,” she said.
“But our Sherwood Park location is doing really well, and we felt a lot of local support. People are really supporting shop local and people are doing what they can, which has been amazing.”
In addition to the community support, both local business owners said getting creative has been important in having their stores survive the pandemic. Both businesses offer curb-side pickup, drop off for local customers, and have focused on increasing their social media presence.
“I couldn’t imagine running a business without social media. You go back 12 years, it’s completely different now, so Instagram and Facebook are so helpful,” Wozniak said.
“We’ll do videos all the time and just post them. So a lot of people see those videos and they ask for those items and then they’ll just come in right there and grab them,” Lang said.
The unusual holiday season has provided some relief and hope for 2021 for the two local business owners.