May and June 2020-Hope
May saw the launch of a new webstore and with it, a whole ton of data entry. Every single item sold through the store needed to be weighed, dimensioned, pictured and described. A lot of this could just get copied over from the old system but it didn’t work too well so manual entry it was. To get this up as fast as possible, and with the help of the wage subsidy, it made sense to bring back a couple of employees! Many days were spent quietly tapping away in separate parts of the café which was a little dull but it was nice to have a big project to chip away at.
This month was also when online sales really took off as Edmonton and the surrounding area cleaned me out of puzzles and games. Getting restocked was a big problem as shipping issues were crazy over these first few months of the pandemic but I still had a huge inventory of stuff after combining both locations. I was doing deliveries pretty much every single day of May and often was driving to all parts of town with 5-10 orders packed in. With the help of a handy little app, this didn’t usually take more than a few hours aside from the days I went to Sherwood Park or St. Albert.
I gained a new appreciation for just how many people I was able to reach. It was nice to have some insight into where a few familiar faces came from and just how far they used to travel to get to my stores. Most surprising was just how many of them all happened to live in one specific condo near the downtown Best Buy. You folks should knock on your neighbours doors and ask to play a game!
We also gave game rentals a try. There are hundreds of games just sitting there so why not try to get people to play them? $5 per game for a 3 day rental worked fairly well but between quarantining the games, not having a decent way to keep it organized and worry over losing pieces/game damage, this was cumbersome at best. It lasted until the middle of June when we were getting ready to reopen.
Plans were also drawn up for a small, long overdue, front counter renovation and I started getting things in process to do so! This was primarily to bring in the draft beer, fountain pop and an ice machine but also to fix a few minor problems stemming from the initial construction of the store (that is a whole other blog worth of details I may have forgotten) and generally make the whole space more efficient.
June played out similarly to May but orders were starting to dwindle as inventory of the hottest items ran low. One of our puzzle suppliers sent out the word that due to shutdowns and greatly increased demand, they simply had no more puzzles to put out into the world. Their warehouse was 5% full and would stay that way for a while!
Renovations began and I started to look towards reopening in July but this also meant that not much else could happen at the store. The majority of the month was simply delivering orders across the city and waiting for renovations to finish.