Bryan Lang, owner of Forge - Games and Hobbies, poses for a photo with some of the product he sells in his store. Photo by Matthew Siu

Bryan Lang, owner of Forge - Games and Hobbies, poses for a photo with some of the product he sells in his store. Photo by Matthew Siu

Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

“People probably think I’m crazy to be opening a new business during a pandemic,” said Sharon Hickin, general manager of the new Lake House Diner and Days Inn Sylvan Lake.

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic closing the doors of many others.

Even though a pandemic may not seem like the best time to start a new venture, Bryan Lang, owner of Forge – Games and Hobbies, says with most new businesses, like his, you don’t have a choice but to open anyway.

“So much planning goes into opening a new store… To decide to wait until the pandemic is over would cost more than opening now,” Lang said.

However when the pandemic hit back in March, Lang said he didn’t alter his course and maintained his plan to open his shop in September.

He said he, like everyone else, expected the pandemic to be over by the summer and then life would go on like normal.

Opening a new business comes with many hurdles and difficulties, during a pandemic extra hurdles are put into place.

For both Lang and Hickin the most difficult hurdle to overcome is dealing with other businesses, such as suppliers and distributers, especially when those businesses are working reduced hours or from home.

Hickin says it takes longer to get anything done.

“With reduced hours and working from home it will take people days to get back to me on almost anything,” Hickin said.

Lang said his major hurdle has been working with his distributers, and the ongoing delays on shipments.

The shipment delays are only exasperated when expecting a shipment for a major game launch.

“I understand that they are dealing with the pandemic just the same as everyone else, but when I tell my customers that a product is coming in on Friday but I don’t actually get it until maybe the next week, that hurts my reputation,” said Lang.

Shipment delays kept the shop from opening on time, and pushed opening day back by about two weeks.

The biggest fear related to opening a business during a pandemic is for it to be traced back to an outbreak.

Both Hickin and Lang say they are doing everything in their power to keep potential spread of the virus to an absolute minimum, but the concern is always there, especially in places where people gather.

Hickin decided to move at a slow pace when opening the new restaurant. She said ensuring social distancing and having a smaller menu to begin with will help.

“We are doing everything we can. We are doing everything according to the rules, so we just have to hope for the best,” Hickin said.

Having a contingency plan in place is also important when opening a new business, especially during a pandemic.

If restaurants are forced to close again, Hickin said they will look at their options avialable and offer take out kits or menus if possible.

Lang said the safety of his customers and their family is important and will do everything in his power to ensure they are safe and healthy.

“I have hand sanitizer available, our gaming tables have plastic table cloths over them for easy cleaning, and when playing with miniatures the only person able to handle them is the owner,” Lang said.

On the positive side, the pandemic has reshaped how many people think when it comes to shopping.

While online shopping has increased during the last seven months, so has the drive to shop locally.

Lang hopes the increased shop local drive will benefit the new businesses that have opened and those that will open in the future.

“I may not have locally produced products, as I am a game shop, but I am a local business owner, who needs the support of the community all the same,” he said.

Ultimately, when it comes to opening a new business, in a pandemic or otherwise, one needs to be optimistic.

“You just have to be positive and hope for the best,” said Hickin.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo.)
Red Deer city council holds closed-door discussion about proposed aquatics centre

Recommended design, cost and location won’t be made public until next spring

A community gathering space was created in front of the new Red Deer Culture Services Centre before the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (Advocate file photo).
Red Deer’s Culture Services Centre to get additional $4.6 M in renovations

It’s one of many capital projects approved by city council

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, reported an additional 1,307 COVID-19 cases Tuesday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Central zone up to 1,249 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer sits at 257 active COVID-19 cases

Mayor
Mayor Veer appointed as Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer has been appointed an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel by… Continue reading

Const. Jason Tress
Mountie testifies another RCMP officer sexually assaulted her at 2012 party

Former Mountie on trial for sexual assault in connection with incident in northwestern Alberta

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary's Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season's top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
CP NewsAlert: Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

CP NewsAlert: Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney watches late in the second half of the team's MLS Cup soccer match against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Seattle. Vanney has stepped down as coach of Toronto FC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo-Elaine Thompson
Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney steps down, says it’s the right time to move on

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney steps down, says it’s the right time to move on

Hamilton Forge FC's Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia's Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday, August 22, 2019. Forge FC looks to win its way into the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday when it takes on Haiti's Arcahaie FC in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF League, a 22-team feeder competition that sends six clubs to CONCACAF's elite club tournament. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC loses penalty shootout to Haitian side in CONCACAF League quarterfinal

Forge FC loses penalty shootout to Haitian side in CONCACAF League quarterfinal

Public health must balance science and society: former top doctor

Public health must balance science and society: former top doctor

California boat captain indicted in fire that killed 34

California boat captain indicted in fire that killed 34

President Donald Trump participates in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump headed to Georgia as runoff boost, but also a threat

Trump headed to Georgia as runoff boost, but also a threat

Flames and exhaust trail behind a Long March-5 rocket carrying the Chang'e 5 lunar mission after it lifted off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province, early Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years — an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
China spacecraft lands on moon to bring rocks back to Earth

China spacecraft lands on moon to bring rocks back to Earth

FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, vials used by pharmacists to prepare syringes used on the first day of a first-stage safety study clinical trial of the potential vaccine for COVID-19 rest on a lab table at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. An influential scientific panel on Tuesday, Dec. 1, is set to tackle one of the most pressing questions in the U.S. coronavirus epidemic: When the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine become available, who should be at the front of the line for shots? (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
US panel: 1st vaccines to health care workers, nursing homes

US panel: 1st vaccines to health care workers, nursing homes

Most Read