Winter storms putting a chill on Nova Scotia businesses
Weekends sales have been taking a hit
Nova Scotia businesses still struggling through pandemic times say a spate of winter storms in 2022 is piling on even more pressure.
Businesses say the problem is compounded because the storms are frequently on weekends when many people do their shopping.
Jill Linquist of Raging Crow Distillery in North River, N.S., said COVID had already slowed her business and now the storms are happening at their busiest times.
"In the three and a half years [we've been open] we've only ever had to close one day due to weather," she said. "That's not counting this January, where we've had to close three days due to the weather."
Staff and customers safe
Linquist said she wants to keep her staff and customers safe. That has led to the decision to close during some of the storms.
The business has primarily used social media to announce the closures, she said.
The Wolfville Farmers' Market has around 45 vendors who sell their goods on Saturdays, according to executive director Kelly Marie Radcliffe.
The market opened on Sunday this week because of the storm. Radcliffe said it would have been hard to wait another week.
"One month of not having regular customers has a huge impact for producers who are already struggling under the weight of COVID, which has already had impacts on their regular customer base," she said.
She said vendors who deal with perishable goods or who make prepared foods to be eaten on site are sometimes forced to decide if it's worth attending the market.
Radcliffe said it's more important than ever to "get out there and support local" with so many farmers hurting.
Julie Page has been operating Retro Runway Fashion in Wolfville for 24 years. She sells used clothing and does alterations and repairs on garments.
Page said she depends on people coming from Halifax to go to the farmers' market to bring business to her shop.
She said her business had been doing quite well despite the pandemic as people chose to shop local and buy second-hand.
Weekend weather has put a serious damper on sales in 2022, she said.
"I had to close a couple of Saturdays, and so then it's just a loss," she said.
"Last year, I hardly had any storm closures. I think the year before I hardly closed at all."
Page said she uses the storm closures to make masks and other items at home to sell at the store.
For Quita Gray, co-owner of the Sugar Moon Farm between Truro and Tatamagouche, storms and the pandemic have created staffing challenges and affected customers.
The maple syrup farm has a restaurant, an onsite maple shop and provides educational tours of the property.
She said her business relies on people coming through the door and there is no revenue if they don't come.
"We're what you might call fairly remote for Nova Scotia and our staff travel from three different counties over difficult roads sometimes," she said.
"So we've been making it up as we go all month."
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