Business owners Cory Pelan of The Whole Beast and Martin Cownden of Chef on the Run, pictured ahead of the 2019 Spring Nosh, run two of the businesses that are able to retain their staff during the ongoing pandemic crisis which has hurt many other businesses. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Business owners Cory Pelan of The Whole Beast and Martin Cownden of Chef on the Run, pictured ahead of the 2019 Spring Nosh, run two of the businesses that are able to retain their staff during the ongoing pandemic crisis which has hurt many other businesses. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Business is not as usual in Oak Bay

Spring Nosh event unlikely says Business Improvement Association

With mixed feelings, the president of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association talks about his hope that the businesses of the Oak Bay Village survive this pandemic.

Martin Cownden runs Chef on the Run which already had a customer base of older adults that appreciated the store’s premade meals. Turns out premade meals are exactly what people are looking for, including Chef on the Run’s regular customers, during the social shutdown underway to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay businesses cope as best they can during COVID-19 crisis

“For us, it’s tough, there’s more business out there and we want to help more people but the solution for our store is not to chase new business, it’s to retain the staff we have and best serve our customers,” Cownden said.

As it stands, this year’s Spring Nosh is unlikely though the Business Improvement Association is hoping to possibly reschedule it for the summer. The association’s members include all storefronts along the Oak Bay section of the Avenue.

At the same time, Cownden can’t help but have a heavy heart as he sees other businesses in Oak Bay Village struggling.

“There is hope, people need to be reminded that there is hope that we’ll get through this,” Cownden said. “I wish I could say it’s business as usual.”

To keep residents up to date on the situation for each Oak Bay business Heather Leary, of the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association, created a list of each business’ status. She updates it at least every two days.

For example, Bosley’s is open but it’s best to call ahead so that staff can prepare the order in time for pickup.

“One of the hard things is that not everyone understands what we’re going through,” Cownden said. “We have one man who is a regular. He wants to come in as he always has, and doesn’t understand why he can’t. He also doesn’t have a non-touch payment method.”

Eventually, Cownden just asked the man what he wanted.

“He said, ‘four chicken pot pies like always,’ so I gave it to him and I said come back when you can figure out how to pay [with credit/debit].’”

READ ALSO: Another big year for Oak Bay Business Improvement Association

Cownden said he is unsure how many people realize the impact small businesses contribute in our social settings and society.

“When you think of how much money is being pumped into assistance and rescue programs, where do people think that money came from before?” Cownden said. “A lot was from small businesses.”

Right now, the circular economy is disconnected.

“There is hope this will pass we’re just in a valley of difficult times, just like we came back from the 1982 high interest rates,” Cownden said. “Don’t forget that in 1984 many of the Government Street stores were boarded up.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

The BCCDC has added WestJet flight 3349 on Nov. 23 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on WestJet flight from Edmonton to Victoria

The BCCDC has added WestJet flight 3349 on Nov. 23 to its flight exposure list

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November, 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches – a fact highlighted in a report released by the BC Humanist Associaton on Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Christian-based prayer at inaugural Vancouver Island council meetings violates court ruling

Blessings violate Supreme Court decision that prayer in council is discriminatory

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Most Read