Glebe merchants adapt in order to continue serving their community

May 20, 2020 | by glebeadmin

"When Katherine Slack was told that her stationary supply boutique had to shut its doors due to COVID-19, she had no idea whether or not her business would survive.

But like any entrepreneur, the owner of The Papery went into problem-solving mode and began to search for novel ways of continuing to serve her customers while still doing her part to curb the spread of the virus.

With e-commerce orders beginning to flow in, she also started accepting emails and phone calls from customers looking for birthday cards, craft supplies and, the newest big seller, puzzles.

“I have been getting my customers involved in the ordering process, so it’s been really fun,” laughed Slack, adding that some customers have sent her “shopping lists” that she then puts together for ordering and curbside pickup. “Sometimes, I am in the store and somebody knocks on the window and points and says, ‘can I buy that?’”

For these shoppers, Slack has initiated a “tapless card protocol” where customers leave their card on a tray so she can bring it inside to ring in the sale. She’s trying to branch out to offer many ways of purchasing – especially for those who do not have the ability to shop online. She has even used WhatsApp to send photos of products in store to customers for somewhat of a virtual shopping experience at The Papery.

“Now I’m thinking I can use WhatsApp to shop with customers for birthday cards. Should we go over to the floral ones? Should I take you over to the funny ones?”

You’ll find a similar dedication to the community at the neighbourhood’s grocery stores McKeen Metro Glebe, Loblaws, Il Negozio Nicastro, Whole Foods Market and the Glebe Meat Market. These shops and their dedicated workers have become local champions – serving the essential needs of the community during an unprecedented and challenging time. All of them have implemented dedicated hours for the elderly and vulnerable populations.

“Our colleagues are definitely my heroes,” said Loblaws Store Manager Sophie Lichtenstein. “We continue to be impressed with how well our colleagues are handling this challenging situation and how committed they are to providing this essential service to our community. Our team has become much closer during this time – we’re like a family and we definitely couldn’t continue to do what we’re doing day in and day out without them.”

The Isabella Street grocery store has set up a simple time slot tool when shopping for groceries online that allows customers to select their preferred pick up time. They’ve also launched Instacart – an online shopping tool that can have groceries delivered in as little as one hour, however, wait times may vary depending on demand.

At McKeen Metro Glebe, they have three full-time delivery trucks dropping off groceries right to your doorstep with “no contact delivery.”

Along with a pre-opening hour dedicated to customers who are 60 years old and over, Whole Foods Market has also features delivery and door-drop service.

The Glebe Meat Market is offering telephone orders and at their Bank Street shop, so customers don’t have to enter the store.

It’s creative measures like these that our resilient merchants have implemented to not only to keep their customers safe, but to also allow them to still serve the community. A quick surf through our Share Your Love Marketplace at intheglebe.ca will show you just how resourceful entrepreneurs can be. From hair salons and clothing stores selling products online to health and wellness companies shifting from in-studio lessons to virtual yoga, dance and fitness classes – our merchants are here for you.

The team at Where I Thrive has begun offering weekly live streamed barre and fusion classes to keep their clients moving while the footloose crew at Fred Astaire have been offering up remote dance lessons online.

The area’s pharmacies also remain committed to the health and wellness of the community during the outbreak – from offering free prescription delivery for all clients and curbside pickup at Whole Health Pharmacy to online prescription management at Shopper’s Drug Mart.

When it comes to food, Glebe eateries haven’t turned down the heat – they continue to cook up delicious take out and delivery meals so that you can still enjoy your favourite dishes from the comfort of your home. You’ll find over 30 restaurants still dishing up eats in the Glebe – everything from Italian, Mediterranean and Indian to seafood, Asian-fusion and some good old Canadian pub fare.

In addition to serving up great take-out, some restaurants are getting creative. At Joey Lansdowne, customers can also stock up on quality goods at the new Joey Market – including eggs, butter, proteins and produce. Customers can also purchase full meal kits to easily recreate Joey’s famous Gluten Free Salmon or their delicious Chicken Parmesan right in their own kitchens.

“It’s every single ingredient that is in that dish, portioned out for four people and they can cook it at home with instructions,” says Joey General Manager Massimo LaMonaca. “It’s awesome. It’s like going out for dinner but being able to cook it with your significant other. And we make it look easy for them.”

The restaurant has also partnered with Door Dash to ensure that customers get their order delivered within 30 minutes. As a way to give back to the community, Joey also offers a discounted menu for all first responders in the city.

“It has helped them get some affordable food and help them out. Nurses, doctors, police, firefighters. Any first responder.”

While COVID-19 continues to affect our way of life, our merchants in the neighbourhood are doing everything they can to make life feel normal for you again. Let’s share that same love and support our local businesses. They need us now more than ever. Visit our Share Your Love Marketplace at www.intheglebe.ca where you can browse more than 100 merchants selling products online, offering gift cards and take-out & delivery options galore.