As more provinces lift remaining COVID-19 public health measures, some businesses have learned positive lessons and developed tools to help curb the spread that are here to stay.
Local & Fresh in Regina had to scale up the delivery service for their grocery market to survive after their banquet hall and restaurant closed down.
“Our business flipped completely upside down when the pandemic hit,” Local & Fresh owner Tim Shultz said.
“We went from doing 10 to 15 deliveries per week to 75 deliveries per day over night.”
Shultz had to update to new software, hire new drivers and change his entire workflow to stay available to his supportive customers.
“It was extremely stressful. I still remember probably the first three weeks. My wife and I were basically living here. We would be here from 6 in the morning until midnight for three weeks straight,” Shultz said.
One of Shultz’s tenants, Karlee Raiwet had just left her stable full time job to launch her own business the week before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
This left Raiwet scrambling to get an online store up and running to start a delivery service for her shop, The Alternative.
“Whenever someone wanted something we were making ourselves available just because as a new business we had to make that service. It was huge to get our name out there,” Raiwet said.
Two years later The Alternative is still up and running with a lot of lessons learned.
“Take one day at a time, one week at a time. You’re constantly pivoting so it definitely teaches you a lot. Never to get too comfortable because you don’t know what tomorrow brings so definitely taught us a lot and I’m thankful for that for sure,” Raiwet said.
Shultz believes he has come out of the pandemic stronger. The curbside and delivery services will now continue past the pandemic.
“Our vision is to make local foods accessible to the community. And we understand that not all the community can come in and shop in person. We want to provide that opportunity for them to access the great local products that are available here,” Schultz said
The pandemic also forced gyms and fitness studios to get creative and deliver their product online when their doors had to close.
Although online workouts threw many fitness businesses for a loop, some managed to stay connected and engaged with clients.
Dan Farthing, owner of Level 10 Fitness, said a lot of employees were forced to try and figure it out.
“Within a few days we were getting in touch with our clients and getting in front of the camera and overcoming that lack of familiarity and discomfort and just kind of connecting,” Farthing said.
“There are countless online workouts that are available to people if you want to log on to YouTube, but I think what people love about this place is the community and the personal relationships that they’ve formed.”
That personal connection and comfort has changed the way many view virtual workouts.
“A client or customer would go away on a vacation or business trip. Normally they would take that time off from the gym and try and do their own thing. But now they are very comfortable going down to the hotel gym or the gym in their condo and they’re going to do a remote workout with us instead,” Farthing said.
Fit Project Studio co-owner and founder Sasha Ash said they had to essentially flip their business overnight when the pandemic hit, and figure out how to get it online.
”We had a team of people that were willing to show up and do what was needed to keep us going. The hard part was the technology,” Ash said.
Ash said the team at Fit Project showed up everyday and did the best they could.
“Things haven’t always been smooth. They’re still not smooth but you just show up, you learn lessons, you do the best you can and we are just going to keep going,” Ash said.
Fit Project saw their business expand beyond Regina into Europe and the United States.
Because of this, their online platform resulted in a re-invented approach.
“Future studios are going to have a filming space built into them so that we can keep this going and we are excited to expand, we’re excited to welcome new members to our team, get new members onto our fit T.V. platform, and just keep introducing the world to Fit Project,” Ash said.