In a time of great uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak, Canadian’s local businesses are already beginning to feel the effects. We have already seen some economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, and over the coming weeks and months, we can only anticipate that our favorite restaurants, hotels, shops, salons, theatre, markets, and other hardworking Canadian businesses are going to be affected. The Canadian Record staffers are proud of Canadian citizens, and we share in everyone’s concerns about the families who will struggle to make ends meet in coming weeks, the owners of small businesses who may be stretched thin, and the people whose jobs will be influenced.
So, we asked how we could help. Unanimously, local business owners we spoke with emphasized the importance of continuing to shop locally, support our businesses, and boost the Canadian economy. Above all, they had messages of appreciation for the community they serve.
Alexander’s Grocery & Deli
Tim Alexander is no stranger to adversity. On Feb. 12, 2019, flames, smoke, and heat from a fire that started in a dryer in the back storage area caused extensive damage—and temporarily closed Alexander’s doors. Canadian rallied around the 30 year-old business, determined to see it rise from the ashes. Alexander’s Deli reopened its doors in June of 2019.
“We had a fire last year; it burned us out; we had nothing,” said Alexander. “We are in a better spot now than when we had nothing.” After receiving an outpouring of community support, Alexander is eager to pay that forward that spirit. “Last year with the fire, that was a very uncertain time for us, and there were people in the community that re-ally helped us out. I personally want to be able to give back and provide a service in the community.”
Alexander’s has quickly adapted to continue to serve in the coronavirus landscape. Additional cleaning regimes were implemented, and new dining methods were adopted. Now offering takeout dinner meals, the store has expanded beyond their normal deli offerings. Alexander’s also quickly expanded on their to-go window ordering, allowing customers to grab a bite from the safety of their vehicles.
Alexander has been quick to adjust to regulations, but is protective of his employees and conscientious of what an economic downturn could mean for the business, “I want to make sure I keep my employees working as long as possible,” said Alexander. “I have 18 employees, it’s very important to ensure they are still able to get a paycheck.”
Alexander said local support is needed now. “In a time like this, local businesses like mine—we really need the support of our customers. The grocery store, the Dollar General, Alexander’s, your local restaurants; we can’t survive unless we receive support from our customers year-round. This is a very important time to shop local.”
The Bucket is open and expanding. Owner/operator Tresea Rankin has recently acquired Ma Beasley’s Donuts, a sweet shop that has a cult following in Hemphill County.
On March 19, Gov. Abbott declared an executive order limiting social gatherings to 10 people, prohibiting eating at restaurants and bars, but still allowing takeout. Following this order, local restaurants began to restrict their services to takeout or curbside only.
Rankin rose to the occasion and adjusted her businesses to focus on takeout orders. Thankfully, Rankin’s newest business venture perfectly fit the bill. On Friday, March 20, Rankin began making fresh donuts daily and serving them from The Bucket. “With drive-up or takeout only, we’ve been throwing these donuts out our to-go window,” Rankin said. Rankin sold almost 900 donuts in the first day.
Rankin is continuing to serve up “happy food,” as she calls it, and is focused on providing jobs for her employees though the coronavirus impact. Rankin said, “My girls can’t go two or three weeks without pay. Most of them are single moms. I have to keep them fed, keep their families fed. I’m going to do whatever I can, so they can stay alive.”
The Bucket employs 10 people, and Rankin feels personally responsible for each member of her staff. ‘We are trying to keep our employees going,” Rankin said “You talk about loyal, good people—well, we have the best.”
Bartlett’s Lumber & Hardware
Bartlett’s Lumber & Hardware is open for business and ready to serve customers. Bartlett’s is a 10-store chain of home centers located in the Texas Panhandle. They have been in business since 1937, and employs around 100 people. Bartlett’s general office and distribution center is located in here Canadian, Texas.
Terrill Bartlett, President of Bartlett’s, explained his employs are ready to assist customers. “It’s important we try to maintain some normalcy. We are trying to provide a service to people.”
Because hardware stores are considered an essential business, Bartlett’s will be able to remain open under almost all potential government mandates. Bartlett added he is grateful to assure his employees they will able to collect a paycheck. “It provides a level of comfort to people to know they still have a job, they’re still going to get paid.”
Bartlett encouraged people in the community to lean on one another in this time. “Canadian has always been a progressive town, always very forward thinking,” said Bartlett. “People that live here take pride in the town, and pride in the community. It shows. A lot of small towns are not that way. We have a lot to be thankful for here in Canadian.”
Bartlett also had a message of hope.
“Try to cope the best you can, try to stay calm; we are going to get through this. We have to stay positive as a community.”
The Medic Pharmacy is open and wellstocked. Pharmacies are also considered essential businesses, and will remain open under government mandates. The staff has been ramping up preparations for COVID -19 and working hard to accommodate their customers. “Medication-wise, people are trying to plan ahead,” said pharmacist Brooke Richardson. “We are seeing a lot of 90-day prescriptions filled. A lot of people are going through their medical profiles to fill things that they maybe haven’t filled in a while. The pharmacy has been busy trying to keep up with all that.”
Richardson and Karen Lay each stated gratitude for the support they’ve received from the community. “People have been positive and kind,” Lay said, “they’re buying from our local wedding and baby registries, and trying to support our business.”
Richardson expressed “We are here for our customers. We are here to take care of their needs, and we are trying to do the very best we can for them.”
Brown Bag Roasters
Established in March 2018, Brown Bag Roasters has quickly risen to a Canadian staple. On a typical afternoon, the building is filled with CHS teenagers, friends catching up over coffee, and members of local organizations who use Brown Bag as the meeting place of choice. In the age of COVID-19, proprietor Gabriel Brown has been mandated by Gov. Abbot’s executive order to pack up the classic board games typically on the tables, and remove chairs to discourage customers from lingering.
“As a small-business owner, I am concerned about this. I employ eight people, and my goal is to keep those people employed as long as possible, so they can get a paycheck as long as possible.”
Brown has adjusted his service to accommodate to-go, curbside, and call-in ordering. Regulations have not dampened the spirit of Brown, who explained he feels a responsibility to the community of Canadian. “As a small, locally owned business, we are trying to be a community morale booster,” Brown said. “We are trying to remain a part of people’s normal routine, give people a small piece of their normal day to day activities. People come in here and are thankful they can get their normal cup of coffee. Any little bit of normalcy we can retain right now is good.”
Canadian’s character is shining through in this dark time. Brown said he is appreciative of the kindness the public has shown to his employees.
“The community is very supportive,” said Brown. “There have been people who bought gift cards, knowing they would use them eventually. There have been people just coming by to say, ‘We are glad you’re open. We’re glad you’re here.’ It’s good to see people being friendly and kind, and we all just need to keep looking out for each other.”
Canadian Animal Health & Nutrition
Wes Avent, owner of Canadian AH&N Feed and Supply, encouraged those in Canadian to shop local and support your neighbors.
“One reason Canadian is so good ... people like to live here because of the community atmosphere. We are proud to be Canadians, especially at a time like this. Our sense of community is growing. People are also realizing how important that sense of community is.”
Despite the ease and convenience of ordering online, Avent encourages those in Canadian to reconsider those online orders, especially during the economic fallout from COVID-19.
“Even I find myself looking online and considering traveling to Amarillo for something that, yeah, maybe could have been ordered here,” Avent said. “Maybe it wasn’t available in town that day, but definitely could have been ordered by a local business.”
Avent emphasized the impact of shopping local, and explained it is often paid-forward by our local businesses. ‘We need to look at what drives the community. It’s not a Walmart or Amazon that drives our community. Our kids don’t receive donations from corporations. They receive support from our local businesses. Those national chains are not providing support to our community. Before people go out of town or order online, they need to consider that.”
“Stay at home; stay in Canadian. It’s an excellent time to support your local businesses. This may be a good time to reflect on what is available here in town. There is nothing that is essential that is not right here in town. There is no reason to go anywhere else. When you sit down and look at the essentials you need, everything is available right here.”
Consider supporting your favorite local businesses this week. Shop remotely via phone or online, or buy gift cards today for use at a later date. Gift cards equal immediate cash flow, and cash flow is the lifeblood of our local businesses.
These small-business owners are your neighbors, your friends, and your family. They employ the people you care about. They provide support to your children’s school, your community initiatives, and Canadian’s charitable organizations. They depend on your support.
Show your love, shop local.
In photos on facing page: Canadian Auto Repair; Canadian Medic Pharmacy, and Bartlett’s Lumber & Hardware; and above, Brown Bag Roasters.