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Business booming in Arnprior during COVID-19 pandemic

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ARNPRIOR —
Don’t bother reminding business owners in Arnprior there’s a pandemic, it won’t change their plans.

The town recently come out with their economic development update, which highlights surprising numbers about the state of business in Arnprior. Since the beginning of 2020, 14 new businesses have opened while only one has closed.

“Once I sat down and looked at all of the businesses that have opened since the beginning of the year, I was quite surprised at the number,” says Lindsay Wilson, the marketing and economic development officer for the town of Arnprior. “I think just the one closure so far really shows the resilience of our businesses and their creativity, and how quickly they were to act.”

Some businesses were formed out of necessity during the pandemic, like Gedder, founded by Eric Burton. Gedder is a delivery service entirely based online. It started as a way of getting food to Burton’s friends and family at the start of the pandemic. Now it’s become a way residents can access any local business.

“Our getters are going out to the grocery stores and corner stores, and delivering things right to peoples’ doors safely,” says Burton.

For other businesses, plans were already in the works, and there was no turning back. For James Jack, he was committed to opening Jack and the Bean Coffee Shop this past summer.

“Yes, there’s always second thoughts but our major concern was, was there going to be a change in (customer) psychology,” says Jack. “We weren’t concerned about the town.”

That factor seems to be the driving force behind local business being so successful in a time of economic uncertainty: the town and its people.

“These businesses are locally owned by people who love and care about this community, who employ local people, they donate locally,” says Burton. “There are a wide range of studies that show local ownership increases the quality of life in communities.”

“It is really the support of our residents, realizing that if they don’t support the local businesses here, they won’t be here to support in the future,” says Wilson.

One of the newest businesses to open in Arnprior’s downtown is Bee Savvy Fine Foods. They are a local grocer specializing in honey based product and other kitchen wares. Owned by Matthew Ott and his wife, in the past they primarily made their sales at trade shows. They opened their brick and mortar store just in time for Thanksgiving.

“We actually had a line up down the street and around the corner on our opening weekend,” says Ott. “A lot of smaller businesses like our own, actually received a bit of a boost when they did finally open a bricks and mortar location.”

The owner of Bee Savvy believes that Arnprior is in a prime situation to benefit from the pandemic economically, and is anticipating the town’s population will continue to grow.

“A lot of those folks are coming from communities that had a lot of those finer boutiques. They miss visiting them and they miss that vibe that they got in those smaller communities.”

“I think it’s the old adage ‘build it and they will come,'” says James. “People are building a variety of different businesses and customers are enjoying that variety.”

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VIDEO: Robbery at downtown Kamloops business caught on camera; owners out $20,000 in gear | Radio NL

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VIDEO: Robbery at downtown Kamloops business caught on camera; owners out $20,000 in gear

UPDATE: 2 p.m.

A downtown Kamloops business owner says he’s out more than $20,000 after being robbed on Wednesday morning.

Lenn Korabanik co-owns RC Nation on Victoria Street West, and just opened his store after Labor Day weekend.

His security camera captured two people breaking in at 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday, who made out with a great deal of gear in less than three minutes.

“The door had been worked open. It wasn’t broken glass, but they actually used a power tool to grind through the lock protection stuff. And then a crowbar, basically to pry the frame away from the door to get thing open.”

He says they went immediately to the most valuable pieces in the showroom.

“They dragged out something in the ballpark of 15 to 17 RCs, we’re just finishing up the inventory on it here today. As well as a pile of accessories. Batteries, and an assortment or electronics that support the RC hobby.”

Korabanik says the culprits left without any remote controls and ironically won’t be able to use the cars they stole. He says they took off in a “rather unique” vehicle: a shuttle bus that was about 20 feet long, with an actual bus door on the side of it and an escape door at the back.

“It was white with smoked-glass windows and was relatively new-looking. So I’m guessing someone somewhere might’ve not had their shuttle bus where they thought it was going to be at 6:20 a.m. yesterday morning.”

He says Kamloops RCMP are following up but to date, no suspects have been apprehended.

“These two dudes were all hooded up with long sleeves. Really frankly hard to tell who they were. Somebody might recognize the way somebody moves, or the obvious logos on the one guy’s shirt. So maybe if somebody knows something and could let the RCMP know that’d be great,” Korabanik says.

Sgt. Darren Michels says those suspects actually broke into two other businesses as well yesterday morning.

Michels says an unnamed business in the 200-block of Lansdowne Street is out about $25,000 in items after the same suspects broke in.

Meanwhile, a 2006 Ford minibus was reported stolen from the parking lot of a business in the 900-block of McGill Road, and it has not yet been found. It has B.C. license plates of NT 4992. Police think the bus had been stolen the night before, and was used to break in to at the two businesses the next morning.

“We are interested in hearing from any additional businesses that may have been targeted by these thieves and have not yet initiated a police report,” Michels says.

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Credit card fraud resulting in loss for businesses

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Credit card fraud resulting in loss for businesses | 96.1 Renfrew Today



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Restaurants Retaining Business Despite Added Restrictions

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Despite additional restrictions for restaurants, many owners are making ends meet.

“It doesn’t affect us too much,” says Robert Manchulenko, Chief Officer of Hospitality and Support Services at Hespeler’s Cookhouse and Tavern. “What’s going into place today, we had already implemented back in August.”

Manchulenko says the greatest effect was with the initial restrictions that limited evening hours, especially on the weekends.

The restaurant is unique, in that, it is part of a social enterprise that sees the restaurant and event revenues utilized toward assisted living, supportive care, and personal care homes within the same building.

“The revenue that comes in through Hespeler’s and our events department, that goes back into seniors housing and keeping the rates affordable for everyone,” informs Manchulenko. “Without that revenue, we’re going to face some stark realities in the future about what we can and can’t do over time.”

Manchulenko says, with the loss of some events and revenue at the restaurant, they have already decided not to move forward on some projects this year.

“With the restaurant, if we’re forced to close again, then we’ll probably have to look at laying off some people,” he shares, “but how that impact would look on seniors housing, that we would have to determine at the time when it comes.”

Meanwhile, the owner of Thai on 59 in Ile Des Chenes, Peter Hounphan, says his business has been doing just fine.

“We decided to just leave it as take-out only”, he shares, “because even when we had the previous restrictions, we could only have like 10 or 12 people inside.”



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