Nova Scotia

Canada Post strike or lockout could be disastrous for small business owner

A Canada Post work stoppage will affect small business owners, like Amy Honey of Seaforth, N.S., who depend on the service for shipping and receiving products.

Seaforth vintage store owner Amy Honey says 40% of her revenues depend on Canada Post

Small business owner Amy Honey of Seaforth, N.S., depends on Canada Post for shipping her vintage products. (Felicia Latour/CBC)

As a potential Canada Post service disruption draws nearer, at least one small business owner in Nova Scotia is concerned about a loss in sales.

Amy Honey runs three online stores for her business Fancy Lucky Vintage, and says she relies on Canada Post exclusively to ship vintage merchandise around the world.

Not just a rumour

Honey says she heard about a potential Canada Post lockout or strike last week, but dismissed it as a rumour at first.

"It didn't really dawn on me until the last couple days that this is really happening," she says. "Now, I'm actually really worried that I'm going to have to suspend operations on my business until [Canada Post] starts up again."

Amy Honey sits at her kitchen table in Seaforth, N.S., where she gets her vintage wares ready to ship to online customers. (Felicia Latour/CBC)

Honey says a mail disruption would have significant consequences.

"I can almost guarantee this is going to be a blow to my business," she says

Forty per cent of her revenues come from products she ships to buyers after selling through the online e-commerce site Etsy, according to Honey, and Fancy Lucky Vintage is her sole source of income.

Shipping alternatives expensive

As for alternative shipping methods, such as FedEx or Purolator, Honey says she's considered them, but they are significantly more expensive.

"I did my research, and it's a difference of $14 with Canada Post, or $60 with those other services."

Although she could ask her customers to pay the difference, Honey worries a spike in prices will drive away loyal buyers.

Honey says she's always been self-employed, but saw an opportunity for online vintage clothing back in 2005. She and her husband were living in Vancouver, where she started selling clothes on Ebay.

Amy Honey has owned her business Fancy Lucky Vintage since 2005, and has always depended on Canada Post to ship online orders. (Felicia Latour/CBC)

"It totally took off," she says. "In 2005, there was no one selling vintage clothes online. The profit margins were huge."

The couple decided to sell their business in Vancouver and move to rural Nova Scotia. Honey says it was a prime opportunity to return to her home province. "I couldn't bear to be away from my family any longer, and running an online business means I could do it anywhere," she says.

Not mailing it in yet

If Canada Post workers do go on strike or are locked out, her contingency plan is to focus her efforts on her storefront location at Lawrencetown Beach. However, that comes at a price. She says buying new items to fill her store requires capital, capital she doesn't have.

Despite the potential loss in revenue, Honey says she spots a silver lining.

"Summer is probably the best season for Canada Post to go on strike," she says. "Summer is tourism season, so with a lot of foot traffic, hopefully I'll get enough customers at the store to tide me over."