Local businesses adapt to challenging times

It hasn't been business as usual for local retailers in New Brunswick since the province issued a state of emergency last week in response to COVID-19. 

Non–essential businesses had to shut their doors to customers.

But there's still a demand for products, and local shops are trying to adapt to find ways to service customers. 

One option is a makeshift delivery service.

"We'll be pushing out orders, as long as they are coming in," said Kaylee Hopkins, a manager at The Radical Edge on Queen St. in Fredericton. 

Gary Moore/CBC

The store specializes in outdoor adventure equipment, and typically wouldn't deliver door-to-door. 

"Right now people are looking for anything that helps them get outside," Hopkins said. 

It's a trend that a lot of other locally owned businesses are following. 

Jeremy MacFarlane is a co-owner of Freddy Bean Roasters, a company that's usually setup in Fredericton's north side market on the weekends.

But since the market shut down, he's been organizing 'drop and dash' deliveries.

"You dropped the coffee off, ya knock on the door, you walk away. Then you'll see faces in the window or they'll come to the door after you've walked away," MacFarlane said.

Gary Moore/CBC

"It's nice to see people smiling in this kind of uncertain time," he said.

Katelyn Copage and her partner Kaleb Zelman have been house bound since last Monday. 

They've been taking advantage of all their favourite local stores delivering products to the door, and have ordered a wide range of things: beer, meats, produce, and coffee.

"If we didn't have these businesses, we're not sure who else we can rely on," Zelman said. 

Zelman had two bags of Freddy Bean Roasters coffee delivered on Wednesday, and shouted his appreciation across the driveway as MacFarlane walked away from the house.

MacFarlane said he's happy to keep his business going, but admits he misses the interaction with his customers.

"Normally we would sell somebody a cup of coffee, or a bag of coffee at the market, and we'd talk with them," he said.  

No one knows how much longer these measures will last, but the local retailers are happy to provide service to their customers as long as they can.