Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
There is no doubt COVID-19 took its toll on how businesses operate. Some businesses had to lay off a substantial amount of their staff members and others were able to make ends meet with help of the wage subsidy.
Although each business had its own unique challenge, many share one similarity: lower revenue.
Joey Hunter, manager at McTaggarts, said besides having lower revenue this season, a challenge they are currently facing is bringing customers back and making them feel comfortable at the store.
“It is not quite a normal year,” Hunter said. “Normally at this time of the year, we have our truck load sale, which is all of our clearance items from all of the other stores. So it’s usually full in here. We missed out on that this year, but it is still going alright. Definitely not as busy as last year.”
This year, the sales section did not attract the usual customers McTaggarts welcomes annually.
However, since there is only a few days left for students to get ready for back-to-school, Hunter said a lot of parents are coming in to shop for their children.
“There’s a lot of people shopping local this year because they are a little hesitant to go out of town,” Hunter said. “It started off as slow back-to-school shopping, but people realized they need to get some things for the kids, so there’s been quite a few people in now getting back to school.”
Although Hunter said she was managing McTaggarts’ social media accounts, answering questions, sending pictures and reserving items, traffic picked up again when the store was doing curbside.
“Then we were doing appointments and then we were able to open, but we kept our doors locked because we have been requiring a mask the whole time we’ve been open,” Hunter said. “We have had our doors locked just to make sure people coming in were wearing them and we allow 10 people in the store so we have to keep track of traffic flow.”
When it comes to using the changing rooms, Hunter said McTaggarts has precautionary rules that were put in place by higher management.
“People can try on clothes,” Hunter said. “If whatever items they take in does not work, they leave it right in the change room. Once they are done with it we will go in, take the clothes out, out them in the back for like 48 hours to three days so other people are trying on [items] that people had already tried on.”
They also sanitize the change room after each customer use, Hunter added.