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.

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

File photo
Rimbey RCMP and Victim Services to host drive-thru license plate event

The drive-thru event was created to help prevent the theft of Rimbey citizen license plates.

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
‘We did not unite around blind loyalty to one man’:Kenney faces internal call to quit

Senior backbench member Todd Loewen, in a letter posted on Facebook, called on Kenney to resign

Alberta continues to wrestle with high COVID-19 case numbers. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer up to 858 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports additional 1,799 cases of the virus

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
Alberta RCMP investigating possible threat to police after Mirror rally

Online images show RCMP members, vehicles in crosshairs of a rifle

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Trudeau is rejecting accusations from Alberta’s justice minister that his federal government is part of a trio rooting for that province’s health system to collapse due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta justice minister sorry for saying feds, others rooting for COVID disaster

Earlier Tuesday, prior to Madu’s apology, Trudeau rejected the accusations

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

Most Read