Taking care of business: At Mattick's Farm, a focus on local vendors

A commentary by the owner/operator of The Country Gift Shoppe at Mattick’s Farm in Saanich. A reboot of our ­continuing series on the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses.

I grew up in Alberta , but I was always excited to visit Victoria as a child. I have fond memories of walking through the fields from my grandparents house on Parker Avenue to Mattick’s Farm.

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There have been a lot of changes to Mattick’s Farm over the years. Where there was once a miniature steam train, a pitch and putt golf course, pony rides and petting zoo, it is now a busy retail centre with something for everyone who visits.

The Country Gift Shoppe has been in my family for 16 years.

We are the heart of Cordova Bay, where you can find gifts for anyone on your list. Every nook and cranny of our delightful shop is filled with functional giftware, linens, jewelry, baby clothing and much more.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck our small business hard and fast, forcing us to close from the middle of March until the middle of May.

We were optimistic for the reopening. However, our sales through June and July were well below last year. We started to see some improvement in August with sales being down only 5% and September sales were only down 3% from last year.

The Country Gift Shoppe has an amazing local crowd that frequents the shop, sometimes daily. It was great to finally start seeing all the familiar faces shopping again, albeit with masks making recognizing everyone more fun than usual!

This pandemic has forced us to be proactive in trying to anticipate our customers needs. With a decrease in traffic, we needed to have what our customers wanted and we offered deliveries, mail orders, special orders and sourcing more products from local vendors.

These are some of the ways that we have been working on to stay viable in a market that can very easily shut out the “little guy.”

With all of our Christmas items arriving by the end of October, we are hoping that a strong “shop local” sentiment shines through our community, helping us and other small businesses like us to not only survive but thrive through the rest of the pandemic.

Even through these difficult times, Mattick’s Farm offers the same friendly service as in days past. We are so thankful for all of our loyal customers and are always happy with new visitors.

With 14 businesses, there is something for everyone. We all offer a safe, happy environment and are looking forward to many more years of serving Victoria.

Mattick’s Farm has the same warm feeling as it did when I was a child and I look forward to greeting my customers every day.

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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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