Uptown Brewery off Horse Lake Road is open for business. (Patrick Davies photo)

Community resilience will see the 100 Mile economy through COVID-19

“We are a very strong, resilient community”

The 100 Mile House business community is readying themselves to re-open as they take stock of the new normal.

Maureen Pinkney is one of those owners looking to the future, the owner of the Crafters Market and a partner in Uptown Brewing. Pinkney’s family also has several commercial holdings in the community including a few buildings in the downtown and malls within the area.

The Crafters Market is a collection of local entrepreneurs and artisans who craft items and sell them at the market as well as farmers market fare. The brewery meanwhile makes homemade wine and beer and provides depot for companies like Fed-Ex.

COVID-19 has hit the Crafters Market the hardest, Pinkney said, as most of the people who sell their wares there have had to clear out their counters and stay home. Those who sell food have been allowed to stay open she said and have seen steady business while balancing the extra work of being super diligent and sanitizing all surfaces.

“Although it’s been wonderful to actually stay open through this, it’s also been an enormous amount of work,” Pinkney said.

Uptown Brewing has also been able to stay open thanks to its essential service label and has actually seen an uptick in business as, with restaurants closed, there are more people looking to bring home some local wine to enjoy with their dinners. The recent renovations have also helped business, in her opinion.

In their commercial holdings, Pinkney said they have 18 tenants and 90 per cent of them have been feeling the effects of COVID-19 “very badly.” She’s sent messages to the government and MLA Donna Barnett to figure out what will be done to help commercial tenants, as thus far she’s yet to see anything from the provincial or federal government about them. The priority has rightly been individuals but she’s worried that the “heart and soul of B.C.” the small businesses will be lost if they’re not helped.

From a health perspective, Pinkney said she continues to be very diligent about ensuring health and safety guidelines as while no cases have explicitly been declared in the 100 Mile area, she’s worried complacency may set in if we don’t say alert. When it comes to reopening the Crafters Market to non-essential vendors she intends to proceed with that same caution on our new normal, as she feels that post-COVID-19 we’ll be changing the way we do things forever.

“The economy here was already feeling the blows from the mills and the wildfire, this is the third hit we really did not need,” Pinkney said. “We’re back further than we were a year ago because everything has been stopped.”

As a member of the town council as well, Pinkney said that an entrepreneur program that was supposed to attract new investors to the community has also been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

“We are a very strong, resilient community. I was born here, my parents have been here since they were five and nine, we are entrepreneurs like a lot of our population and we keep trying… I think people’s attitudes are what’s going to get us through it and there’s a lot of very positive people here (in 100 Mile) with big huge hearts and it will be our community focus and belief that bring us to a positive end,” Pinkney said.


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The interior of Uptown Brewery. (Submitted photo)

The interior of Uptown Brewery. (Submitted photo)

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