On March 13th, I was in Edmonton on vacation, soaking up my first Oilers game and what soon became their last home match of the 2020 NHL season. Within 24 hours, sports leagues were suspended, events were postponed and businesses began closing their doors.
Like millions of others, I was affected by the pandemic that has continued to shake the world. If you've been keeping up with this series, you'd know from part two that I scored a new job of working at Borealis back in February, but unfortunately, they were one of many businesses that paused operations in hopes of slowing the spread. I was one of 800,000 Canadian restaurant workers laid off in March alone, and it doesn't look like I'll be making a return anytime soon.
But with every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. My extra time at home provides the chance to watch the decision-making of industry leaders and see restaurants evolve as they face the consequential turbulence of this pandemic. It's been a welcomed opportunity to learn about business-building through the world wide web as well as handfuls of intelligent humans that I'm grateful to know or connect with. Not only do I have an abundance of time for these online meetings or phone calls, I then have the freedom to put the knowledge into action.
Since returning from vacation just over a month ago, I've been a part of over 26 hours of webinar content, watched over 8 hours of YouTube videos, read countless articles on the restaurant industry and had about 5.5 hours of real conversations with real people about their experiences and expertise. I've released a market research survey to a target group, and to the general public, to help guide some decision making down the road. I've officially started a business plan with real sentences instead of just bullet points and ideas. I've asked for a shit ton of feedback from anyone and everyone who I am connected with on social media (thank you), and began to curate a customer profile. I've been brainstorming more business offerings as a stepping stone to a brick-and-mortar space, currently spending energy on finding a way to provide a service with minimal waste from packaging...because good food comes from a healthy Earth.
But I certainly don't have my shit together, and still have a looooong way to go. I often get distracted with my thoughts, I often feel wiped out from staring at a screen all day long and I often wonder if I accomplished anything on a given day or week...however, when I sit and reflect on the last month, I can see that I am, in fact, making progress on the grand plan...even if it feels like it's coming at a snail's pace. I am beginning to grasp various aspects of a food business, or at least understand what steps I need to take.
Speaking of which, one of the individuals I recently connected with was Jordan Dolson, owner of Legacy Greens, a small downtown Kitchener grocer that partners with local growers and producers. A few weeks after chatting with her to learn more about business in DTK, an opportunity arose for part-time work. Without Borealis in the mix, I submitted my application, knowing it could be a chance to connect with new faces who have a love for whole foods and local foods (my kinda people) while also learning some of the ropes of a different type of food business.
Well, friends, it's official: you can come see me on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and get your local produce (and some extras) while you're at it. Win-win? I hope you think so, too.
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay hopeful.
Until next time,