Saskatchewan

Sask. businesses using new tech, old-school delivery to stay afloat in age of self-quarantine

From offering delivery to streaming classes, some businesses are innovating in how they offer services.

From offering delivery to streaming classes, businesses are innovating

Mortise and Tenon was one of a number of stores that closed their storefront due to concerns about the coronavirus. (Mortise and Tenon/Facebook)

As Saskatchewan stores continue to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, owners say it's never been more important to support local businesses. 

Some small businesses are innovating to stay afloat, whether that means hand-delivering books, leaving items on the doorstep or posting workouts online,

Saskatoon book shop Turning the Tide has reduced its hours but wants to look out for people in isolation. People who can't leave their home but want a new read can order online and have the books delivered right to their door.

"This is something that we thought would be helpful to people. People are needing things to sort of pass the time. So reading is a great way to do that," owner Peter Garden said. 

Peter Garden is the owner of Turning the Tide book store in Saskatoon. (Turning the Tide/Facebook)

Cassie Ozog is one of the four founders of Mortise and Tenon, an eco-friendly general store in Regina. The store officially closed on Monday. 

"It was scary," Ozog said. "Nobody wants to close their doors. Nobody wants to shut down their business — but it's really because this is the responsible choice."

The owners are still paying their staff through the pandemic, she said. Now, it is launching an online shop and having free in-town delivery for people wanting items. 

"We'll do doorstep delivery. We'll wave to you through your window so we know we can practise good social distancing," Ozog said. "I think it's sustainable as long as people can do their best to support those local businesses."

Other moves include Go Big Treats in Regina offering take-home cookie decorating kits, or restaurants offering only take out and delivery. 

Fitness studios like Project Barre, Local Barre Fitness and LG Fitness have moved their classes online by offering workout videos. 

Bodhi Tree Yoga in Regina has done the same, but through an online streaming platform that lets people still talk to the instructor and interact with one another. 

"Just stop and be able to kind of connect with people," Sarah Garden, the co-director of Bodhi Tree Yoga, said. "Keeping a habit of yoga and meditation practice is a really amazing way to help manage stress." 

Closing the doors was an easy decision, Garden said, because yoga involves many people in a small space. By doing online classes, she can keep the instructors employed and try to bring people together. 

"It's one thing to practise yoga and meditation in your house on your own but people are going to feel isolated," she said. 

The yoga studio is offering a free mediation class on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings for anyone feeling stressed. People can register for the free class on their website. 

"I just hope everybody stays safe and healthy and that we can weather this together as a community."

Sarah Garden livestreams her morning Bodhi Bliss class with 'Pippa' there to help. (Bodhi Tree Yoga/Facebook)

With files from Laura Sciarpelletti

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