Coronavirus: Creative ways Edmonton businesses are adapting amid COVID-19

Capacity restrictions and physical distancing measures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic have seen many Edmonton businesses take a huge hit.

Gatherings of over 15 people have been banned and health and government officials at all levels are asking people to just stay home.

Nightclubs and bars have been ordered to close, and restaurants had to shut their dining rooms as of March 27.

Other kinds of businesses are seeing huge drops in traffic as people stay home and avoid everything except absolutely essential outings.

However, many local businesses are getting creative, offering online orders, delivery and takeout, and finding other innovative methods to continue offering their goods and services safely. Others are launching initiatives to support front-line workers.

Here’s a list of Edmonton businesses (by type and alphabetically) and how they’re adapting and showing love to the community:

Stores, shops and initiatives

Beaumont has launched an initiative to support local businesses through the pandemic called #OpenInBeaumont.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our community. They not only provide jobs, they support sports, arts, charities and many other worthy causes in Beaumont,” said Mayor John Stewart.

“It’s our turn to show our support – even if you’re not in a position to support them with your dollars, post a message on social media letting them know how important they are to the community.”

The city is encouraging businesses to use the #OpenInBeaumont hashtag on social media to let customers know what they’re offering.

Club Mead Pet Resort, a boarding facility in the Nisku area, is staying open to offer pet care. It’s also offering discounts to those working longer hours during the pandemic and to make it more affordable for those who need help taking care of their animal.

The business will offer the discounted day rate until just before Easter and then will re-evaluate. People can visit the website, contact Club Mead, and it will help on an individual basis.

Cory Christopher organized a virtual flower party for Thursday, March 26  at 7 p.m. on Instagram live. The local design company also has virtual workshops in the works. Customers will receive a workshop kit delivered to them with supplies and the instruction will take place online.

Oodle Noodle has been making weekly food donations of noodles and sauces made in its factory (200 pounds every week) to local charities for meals. So far, the company has donated 1,600 meals to Mustard Seed, Edmonton Food Bank, Leduc Food Bank and YESS.

Starting April 13, it will donate 10 per cent of all takeout/curbside pick-up sales each week to a local charity in need of financial support. A new charity will be selected weekly.

The Dog House Daycare offers dog training. Starting in two weeks’ time, the next course will be online dog training sessions.

Owner and lead trainer Kristen will be offering online training sessions through Zoom. The platform will allow for group video classes, instructional videos and real-time feedback while also observing social distancing.

The online lessons will cost the same amount as the in-person training sessions would.

The Tomato, a beloved local food and drink guide, is updating its website every Wednesday to list food and drink businesses offering curbside pick-up and delivery. It also updates the same list on its Facebook page and in its weekly newsletter the BITE.

“We hope so much that there will be a food and drink sector after all this is over,” creator Mary Bailey wrote. “They need our support right now!”

Glass Bookshop is urging Edmontonians to shop local and is offering options even during the COVID-19 health crisis.

While the doors are closed, delivery is still on, every two days and totally free. Avid readers can browse options here.

King Street Cannabis in Edmonton and Queen Street Cannabis in Spruce Grove are locally owned and operated. Stores are open but allowing only one person in at one time and entry is permitted by appointment only, which ensures no crowds or lineups. The store is cleaned after every customer. Orders are taken over the phone and online only.

Paddy’s Cheese is offering contact-less curbside pickup as well as delivery which is free for orders over $50 and $3 for orders under $50.

Massage Heights, a subscription massage clinic, closed all its physical locations. However, it is offering clients the option to suspend their subscriptions at no fee, or they can continue their subscription and build up credit for future massages.

“With this option, Massage Heights will turn 100 per cent of the revenue into immediate, interest-free loans available to all employees in need of assistance during the temporary closure. If you choose this option, thank you. It will mean a great deal to all of our team members.”

Men in Kilts cleaning service decided to change its direction and focus on providing a delivery service for self-isolating people during the pandemic.

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Calgary-Edmonton president Spencer Wik said people can send them a grocery list over email and confirm payment options — either e-transfer or cash. Crew members then head to the grocery store, buy the needed items and drop the groceries off on the front step at a designated time.

My Filosophy had to close its doors but is still selling. The local clothing and home goods business is currently working on Zoom shopping parties.

It is donating five per cent of its gift card purchases to local charity Little Warriors. It’s also working with Canadian company SOAK and a Calgary doctor to provide as many eco-wash bags and “SOAK” laundry care products to health-care workers as possible in an attempt to reduce germs coming home with them.

Sherbrooke Liquor is offering online orders that customers then drive to the store to pickup curb-side.

Sherwood Barks is now offering all of its puppy classes online. The training facility and daycare is also offering no-human-contact puppy socials.

Shop YEG Directory is a website that lists small and medium-sized local businesses that are offering delivery options during the COVID-19 crisis.

The couple who created it wanted to reach out and help the local business community during the pandemic.

“One way that we feel could make a significant difference is if we can encourage others to shop local, but from the safety of their home,” Sharla explained. “It’s still a work in progress, but we currently have over 130 businesses listed.”

Skip the Depot, a service that usually picks up your bottle recycling, is offering 100 per cent bottle refund deposits on home pickup using the promo code DOINGMYPART. If residents don’t need the refund money, they can donate it to one of over 250 charities and other non-profit organizations.

Tail Blazers, a pet specialty store in west Edmonton, is offering free delivery to those who cannot leave their homes and contact-less curbside pickup for other customers.

The Cove Tea Company is offering home delivery for orders in the metro-Edmonton area, including Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.

Welling Centre is an Edmonton-based holistic health clinic. Its doors are closed to the public, but the centre’s RMT (registered massage therapist) is guiding clients in need through self-massage, stretching and strengthening at no charge.

Psychologists and homeopath workers have switched to video and phone sessions.

West End Gallery had to close its space to the public in Edmonton due to the novel coronavirus. The local art gallery moved to appointment-only for gallery visits in Edmonton. But it’s open for business online and spreading the word using social media.

Wild Prairie Soap Company is a 20-year-old natural soap manufacturing company based in Edmonton.

The company is donating one kilogram of soap (10 bars) for every online order. As of March 26, after just three days, it had already donated 510 bars of soap to Boyle Street Community Services. The next partner agency is Wood’s Home in Calgary, that offers services for at-risk children.

yegTechCares is asking salaried employees to give up the equivalent of one hour of their monthly salary for the next three months and donate it to the Edmonton Food Bank.

“Where we can, the companies themselves will match those donations,” the group said. “As an industry, we are lucky – the unprecedented situation with COVID-19 will likely be something we adjust to, rather than something that poses an existential threat to our businesses.

“However, there are many people in our economy — wait staff, people who rely on retail shifts, airline staff, artists, substitute teachers — that suddenly find themselves in a precarious situation they could not have expected.

Food and drink spots

Dirtbag Cafe is offering a baking and beer pick-up service called Bag It Up. The cafe updates its menu weekly on its Instagram page @dirtbagcafe.

Love Pizza performed an amazing act of kindness. The pizza company took 20 pies to the University of Alberta Hospital ER, along with Northern Chicken, Woodshed Burgers and Delux Burger Bar, to feed front-line health-care workers.

With the help of other donations, the company has also delivered free pizza to the Youth Emergency and Support Services (YESS), St. Albert Ambulance and Fire, the Sturgeon Hospital and workers at the Grey Nuns Hospital (including doctors, nurses and cleaning staff).

Love Pizza launched a $5 pizza support program and in just 36 hours, more than 900 pizzas were delivered to front-line workers across Edmonton.

“We say, you want to feed the belly with love, but it’s also getting those really heart-warming messages that really helps, too, just letting them know that we’re thinking of them and that we’re supporting them. I think it means a lot to them,” co-owner Braede Harris told Global News.

To offer your support, click here.

Spinelli Italian Centre is offering home delivery of groceries servicing Edmonton and select surrounding areas between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for orders of $75 and more. Delivery will be made contact-free.

SPUD has experienced an increase in orders. The local, organic, sustainable grocery delivery service has rented extra vans to help it deliver more.

“There’s more than enough food for everyone,” its CEO said. “You do not have to hoard.”

Sunterra is offering a 25 per cent discount on all Sunterra in-house food products purchased in-store for Alberta Health Service workers, starting Tuesday, March 31. “We are so grateful to our health care providers for taking care of our families. Now we want to help them take care of theirs,” Sunterra Market President Glen Price said.

Alcohol

Aligra Wine and Spirits is offering both pickup and delivery options.

Alley Kat brewery is open for pick up and offers at-home delivery in Edmonton.

Analogue Brewing is offering beer delivery but it also has a “Nurse a Pint” program where customers can buy a drink for a nurse, EMT or other AHS worker that can be redeemed when the taproom reopens.

Anyone interested can pre-pay for a pint, sign a coaster, and then when the taproom reopens after the health crisis is over, anyone with AHS ID can take a coaster to have have a free beer.

Bent Stick Brewery is offering pickup options for Edmonton beer fans.

Black Diamond Distillery has shifted its production from alcohol to hand sanitizer and is prioritizing health-care workers. The distillery is personally investing in order to fund the shift and also started a gofundme campaign to help ramp up production.

Blindman Brewery is offering beer delivery. It’s also working on collaborating with any restaurants in Edmonton, Calgary or central Alberta planning online events and concerts to supply beer for the viewers.

“These restaurants and bars need all our love, these are our friends who are trying their damndest to keep on keeping on supporting their own staff and livelihoods.”

Hansen Distillery is offering delivery services for its spirits in the Capital Region on a weekly two-day delivery.

The Edmonton distillery is currently working on cocktail boxes for home delivery so people can join its weekly YEG Virtual Happy Hour every Friday and follow the featured cocktail recipe being made by a mixologist via Zoom video.

Sea Change Brewing Co. closed its taprooms but is offering four-packs, new growler fills, kegs and gift cards for delivery.

Strathcona Spirits changed gears and started making sanitizer when the need arose. Scona Community Hand Sanitizer quickly sold out and the distillery is trying to get more glycerin to continue producing it. When it comes to its spirits, the company is offering click and collect — online ordering and curb-side pickup, as well as free shipping on all orders over $75.

Town Square Brewing Co. is offering both pickup and delivery. Options even include adding a ready-made frozen pizza.

Vines Wine Merchants is offering curb-side pickup and free delivery. Call (780) 434-9444 for more information.

Gyms and classes

Alberta Cheer Empire has closed both its gyms but owner Kim Fiissel and her staff have put together virtual classes and hold team Zoom meetings to keep athletes engaged. There are over 500 athletes and parents receiving information and activities from this crew several times a day.

Champs Boxing Studio is offering free live sessions online through Instagram (and available for 24 hours after). The gym encouraged patrons to support Champs by purchasing gift cards or class passes, if they’re able. All classes will be redeemable when the studio reopens.

City Fit Shop paused memberships and is offering at-home workout plans for children and adults.

Elevate Sports Performance is offering free online classes using Zoom. The gym is asking people that if they would like to support coaches, they can send donations to [email protected]

“We want to help in these tough times and provide that bit of community interaction while social distancing. We also offer online one-on-one training or group training at a discounted rate.

Fit on 45th is offering free fitness classes (kickboxing, bootcamp) online.

Fit Your Life is offering online workouts live on its Instagram stories (available for up for 24 hours after), as well as its private Facebook group.

F.R.E.E. Fitness is offering workout classes of several varieties online for free. It is posting its classes on its academy website. It is also accepting donations to support trainers.

Metta Yoga has been offering a variety of yoga classes online through its Instagram account.

Navina Yoga is offering free or pay-what-you-can classes online through its Instagram and Facebook accounts. It’s also offering online classes for $20 a month through its website.

Shala Ashtanga Yoga Centre is offering classes remotely through Zoom. All online classes are $8.

The Projct is offering free fitness classes online through its Instagram page.

XTherapy Athletics is live-streaming its spinning classes four times a week. It also placed its stationary bikes up for rental. High-intensity interval training equipment is also available to rent.

YEG Fitness has been compiling a list of exercise and training resources. The online fitness magazine has also been suggesting daily workouts on its website.

Restaurants

Several local restaurants are offering either pickup or delivery options, including Edmonton favourites like Blue Plate Diner (offering pickup and, as of March 23, said it would “soon” be offering delivery) and Bodega Tapas and Wine Bar (pickup).

Beaumont’s Chartier closed its French-Canadian dining room but is offering “comfort food” via curbside pickup.

Vinson Luong and Tyler Findlay, co-founders of a new Edmonton startup, put their work on Food Search Inc. on hold when the pandemic spread and severely impacted local restaurants. They decided, instead, to focus on helping small businesses continue reaching their customers.

Luong developed a list of Edmonton-area restaurants offering alternative options, like pickup and delivery, and where to reach them.

A number of local businesses are offering both pickup and delivery options, including (but not limited to):

A Cappella Catering, Amore Pasta, Belgravia Pub, Bloom Cookie Co., Blowers and Grafton, Blue Orchid, Bon Ton Bakery, Buddy Wonton Seafood Restaurant, Cavern, Culina to Go, Dorinku Osaka, Duchess Bake Shop, Farrow Sandwiches, Ganesh Sweets, Grandin Fish ‘N’ Chips, Guru Restaurant, High Level Diner, Lemongrass Café, Meuwly’s, Mexico Lindo Tacos & Grill, NOSH Café, Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant, Piper’s Pub & Pizza, Sicilian Pasta Kitchen, Sugared & Spiced, Syphay Restaurant, The Gilded Rabbit, The Lingnan Restaurant, The Mango Tree, the Nook Café, Three Amigos, The Workshop Eatery, Tokyo Noodle Shop, Tres Carnales Taqueria, Upper Crust Café, Viphalay Laos and Thai restaurant.

For a complete list, courtesy of Luong and the Pickups and Deliveries in Edmonton and Area Facebook group, click here.

If you are an Edmonton business that has found a way to adapt to the current climate and would like to be added to our list, send us an email.

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