Vernon shops like Expressions of Time have shown their strength, resiliency and adaptability amid the COVID-19 crisis. (Facebook)

Vernon shops like Expressions of Time have shown their strength, resiliency and adaptability amid the COVID-19 crisis. (Facebook)

COLUMN: A toast to small businesses in Vernon

Show local business some love this Small Business Week

A toast to small businesses, their adaptability, resilience and perseverance.

In the face of a global pandemic, we have watched a cornerstone of our community overcome hurdle after hurdle with no end in sight.

We have watched our favourite cafés, restaurants, shops and boutiques adapt on a daily basis to the ever-changing advice from top doctors and government officials as more is learned about the novel coronavirus.

We’ve watched as business owners have installed Plexiglass barriers, erected hand-sanitization stations and changed their hours in order to keep us, their community, safe.

But we have also had to watch when some had no choice but to close their doors, temporarily or permanently, and let go of their staff.

We have all done our best to support local, whether it’s ordering takeout from our favourite spot downtown, or requesting curbside pickup from the neighbourhood shop.

When more and more doors reopened in the second phase of B.C.’s Restart Plan, we slowly and cautiously went to support our faves in person while following protocols we know are in place to keep us safe.

This week is Small Business Week and here’s your friendly reminder to show local some love. More love than normal.

Greater Vernon Chamber general manager Dan Proulx put it nicely when he said, “small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities.”

It’s critical to keep that pulse pumping.

Most of our local businesses are ready to welcome you back.

Ratio Coffee, for instance, is ready to welcome in-house diners back after redesigning their seating areas. They created several cosy areas to enjoy a warm beverage with a close friend in your bubble while the mercury begins to drop.

Meanwhile, the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre held their first concert since the pandemic was declared. Tables were sold for parties of two, four or six and were placed two-metres apart. The two sold-out Andrew Allen shows on Saturday, Oct. 17, gave lucky Vernonites that taste of live entertainment that has been missing for the past seven months.

Our favourite pubs and restaurants are open and operating within the restrictions outlined by Dr. Bonnie Henry, and while they may be closed earlier than usual, there’s still plenty of time to grab a cold one and some chicken wings. Plus, takeout is always an option.

One positive outcome from the COVID-19 crisis, I think we can all appreciate, is the online web presence our local businesses have now.

More and more businesses have moved away from the Facebook-only model and have beautifully designed websites with online shopping options. Plus there is an abundance of new offerings available through Skip The Dishes, DoorDash and NinjaNow. Yay!

While we are all unsure when or if “normal” will return, our business community is there to give us a taste, and we appreciate you all.

So, go show your local biz community some love this Small Business Week and beyond.

After all, the holidays are just around the corner.

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