Taking Care of Business: As people stay home more, more demand for furniture

A commentary by the owner of furniture retailers Scan Designs and Muse & Merchant, 661 McCallum Rd. in Langford. A reboot of our continuing series on the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses. Seven months after a lockdown and re-opening, business people share the experience and their views on moving forward.

Weathering the COVID-19 storm, ScanDesigns and Muse & ­Merchant have encountered many challenges over the past six months as we adapted to the ‘new frontier’ imposed on ­business operations.

The most important — and ever changing — part of adapting was implementing and complying with WorkSafeBC and COVID-19 public health protocols to keep employees and customers safe.

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Following the closure of our stores came the task to ­restructure and reopen in a safe manner, while endeavouring to offer continued service with minimal interruptions to our ­valued customers.

Like many retailers, we ­initially adopted a by-appointment-only policy and an online sales presence. As employees gradually returned to work, there was a progression to ­controlled in-store visitations.

Fortunately, by the end of May all our professional staff, to whom the company is most grateful, had returned to work and were trained in compliance with WorkSafeBC and public health protocols.

The redesign of space in our stores allowed us to resume sales and delivery services to the high standard our customers are familiar with.

On a positive economic front, there has been a noticeable change in people’s priorities and attitudes since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Lockdowns and working from home inspired people to be more creative and conscious of their home environment, resulting in home improvements, including new furniture purchases.

Additionally, real estate sales have also been on the rise, ­generating an increased demand for home furnishings and accessories.

Management and staff are incredibly grateful for the huge support we have received from our customers, benefiting small and local businesses which help keep our communities strong and vibrant.

Day to day business operations continue to be significantly impacted by many challenges during this historical time.

Foremost, we are experiencing unprecedented shortages in product availability. Most of our global partners and suppliers are having difficulties sourcing raw materials, consequently furniture production is months behind schedule.

This is resulting in a supply chain effect creating longer anticipated delivery times from source to our warehouses and on to our customers.

Further, beyond our control, the congestion at Vancouver Port is adding an additional two to three week delay in receiving and delivering product to the customer.

We ask for patience and understanding as industry weathers the supply chain storms created by global lockdowns.

Change has definitely forced us to become stronger and more resilient as we adapt to a “new normal” for the near future.

As a retail business operator, we have learned many lessons about surviving and righting the ship during the storm.

We thank everyone for their support knowing you are also making life adjustments and working hard to meet your ­obligations.

Stay healthy, safe and ­optimistic!

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How is your business doing? Let our readers know with a personal commentary. Send a submission in 500 words for consideration to dkloster@timescolonist.com

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