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'I think it’s the way of the future': Small businesses shift online during the pandemic
Published Saturday, May 23, 2020 3:14PM EDT
KITCHENER -- The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard for small businesses, but two K-W companies have shifted their services to stay afloat while keeping customers safe.
The co-owners of The Culinary Studio in Kitchener say there was no other option but to close their doors.
"We have husbands on the front lines," said Kirstie Herbstreit, chef and owner at the studio. "We didn’t really have a choice but to close our doors."
Co-owner Jody O’Malley adds that it took a couple weeks to get their online classes going, but once they were, the virtual setting took off.
"Every time someone signs up we get super excited," said Herbstreit.
Lynn Planinac has been taking part and says the different experience is still very enjoyable.
"It’s just kind of fun. It’s all measured out," she said. "You just go and pick it up.Some of the ingredients you may not have in your kitchen."
Kerri Hallman, owner of Fitness 360 For Women in Waterloo, is facing a similar challenge. She has been teaching her fitness classes on Zoom and through Facebook live.
"My business is basically in club, in person," she said. "The biggest challenge for us is not being able to see each other every day."
Hallman adds that despite the difficulty, this new way of doing things could stick.
"I will keep doing the online classes for those that want them," she said. "I’ve had some people say to me 'I really like working out at home and I want to keep doing it.'"
Herbstreit says it was fear that first led to the decision to switch online, but can see the benefits of the virtual method.
"I think it’s the way of the future," she said. "I think we can definitely reach this broader audience that’s maybe even always wanted to come here."
O’Malley adds that for now, they are still just taking it one day at a time like many other small businesses.
"We don’t know what the future holds," she said. "I’m getting emotional now. We don’t know where we’re at. We are just trying to survive."