A commentary by the owner/operator of Catawampus Fudge and Funk at 1208 Wharf St. in downtown Victoria. A reboot of our continuing series on the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses. Six months after a lockdown and re-opening, business people share the experience and their views on moving forward.
Several months have passed since my commentary in April and my doors are still open.
How am I doing?
I get asked on a daily basis from regulars and visitors alike.
I am anxious.
I am concerned.
And I am still here with my doors open and optimistic about a future for which I have no control.
My sense of purpose and being here in my store are the same, but now there is a shift as we head into fall and a greater unknown.
Will there be a second wave? Will the Snowbirds come? Who will travel? Will the locals continue to “buy local”? Will there be a vaccine that lets us all breathe a little easier?
The opening of many businesses brought locals to our downtown. The summer months brought visitors from all over Canada — not like a regular summer in Victoria, but enough for us to be hopeful of better times to come.
As fall approaches, I have made it through the summer.
But have I?
There are many businesses, like myself, who are worried moving forward. I am still not eligible for any government funding. I am still paying for product that came late in the summer due to manufacturers around the world shutting down and being unable to produce the goods.
I am heading into a season that I know, after being here for 16 years in business, will slow down to less than half of what the summer months generally bring.
My fall goods usually arrive in July and August while cruise ships and tourists are still in abundance and sell through is guaranteed.
But not this year.
I have cancelled more than half of my fall goods due to the uncertainty in the market. Some of my suppliers have gone out of business or are not shipping to Canada at this time. Not to mention the fact that now is the time of year that spring buying starts.
It is a difficult time to be in a retail environment, and I am not the only one in this position.
The locals, and particularly my regular customers, have been paramount in my survival as a small business. As an owner and operator of a store that I have worked hard to create, I want to make it to Year 17 and beyond.
How am I doing?
I am so appreciative for all the positive feedback, feel-good moments and support the locals have given me. I have shared tears, stories and hope with all who have asked. My doors are still open due to your generosity and continued support. I can’t thank you enough.
In the months to come I anticipate a struggle that I hope I am prepared for. Not everyone gets to say they love what they do everyday. I am thankful for that. I am grateful and proud to be part of a community that listened when I needed help. I am in this for the long haul and am hopeful for your continued patronage to keep my business open.
We are all in this together.
And together, with your help and support, we will make it through this.
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