Peterborough businesses adapt to online models for sales and services during pandemic

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced people all over the world to use online means to connect with others or to shop, several businesses in Peterborough have taken full advantage of the trend.

Peterborough Microgreens officially launched on Tuesday after a successful soft-launch in December.

Read more: 5 Canadian businesses on how they pivoted to online platforms

The sustainable urban farm near Peterborough Regional Health Centre offers microgreen products through its website.

“It’s all online-based,” said founder Stephanie Hendren. “We hope in the summertime, we can do some popups at farmers markets, but it’s mostly online and delivery-based business.”

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Hendren, who has a background in web and graphic design, said she was laid-off from her previous job at the outset of the pandemic and decided to launch her own company.

She had been growing microgreens for years after being introduced to them by her sister, who is a professional chef.

Peterborough Microgreens offer five varieties of microgreens for order including pea shoots, broccoli, mustard, clover and radish mix.

“My partner has a background in horticulture, so he’s the greens expert. With our combined experience, it was the business we came up with,” she said. “I thought it would be better to create something for myself that’s a better fit for our family and the world we’re living in.”

Under One Sun offers artisan clothing, jewellery, metal art and skin care products.

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Owner Stephanie Guyatt had a brick-and-mortar store in downtown Peterborough before deciding to go fully online in Feb. 2020, right before the first wave and lockdown measures hit.

“It was Feb. 29 of last year. It couldn’t have been any better timing, to be honest. It was seconds before all this hit,” she said.

Read more: ‘It’s been really, really, busy’: Online holiday shopping results in record shipping numbers

“All-in-all, we were on par with every other year. We’ve always had a strong online component. Taking away the physical component and going full online really strengthened our online sales.  We’ve been blessed with a lot of local support and across Canada support. It was a good year.”

Under One Sun offers local pick-up at Guyatt’s home or rental properties and offers free local delivery and also ships globally.

Its products are also offered in retailers across Canada including two in Peterborough.

“I’m packing up shipments to go across Canada three-to-four times a day minimum. Sometimes up to 20-22, so it’s good,” Guyatt said.

Read more: Protecting your personal information and your money when shopping online

“Online is huge. Everyone is spending a lot of time on their phones and laptops. It’s key for modern businesses,” said Joel Wiebe, government relations coordinator for the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

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Wiebe tells Global News Peterborough that the pandemic pushed many businesses into thinking for the future by embracing online now rather than later.

“You can easily get caught up in the day-to-day running of a business. It’s very involving. This has forced everyone to take a new look at how they’re doing things and what types of delivery models they can do,” he said.

“There were a lot of businesses that knew they needed to do more online and intended to, but were really caught up in just running that business. With COVID, it changed that. So you had people who were online in various forms, or not at all and finally, they were implementing those things they were putting off for those years. It’s brought us ahead leaps and bounds and those who are modernizing with this, it will just make them more competitive down the road.”

Wiebe said all businesses are different so tailoring an online model to meet specific needs, needs to be just that — tailored.

Businesses that are looking to go online or learn more are encouraged to contact the Chamber of Commerce.

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