While the wedding and grad season may be lost, Rustic Elements is still managing to do decent business amidst COVID-19.
Owner and operator Jodi Christianson is the owner of Rustic Elements and said that typically her boutique sells flowers, plants, chocolates and gifts, specializing in weddings and events. While typically she’d be in the midst of a busy season, Christianson said that the wedding season, this year at least, has been basically destroyed.
“Thankfully for us, on the flower shop side of things we already had quite a strong presence online so we were able to provide virtual services via our Facebook page and website,” Christianson said.
While some of their usual growers and suppliers have also been hit by the virus and some products are more expensive to procure, Christianson said they’ve been able to push through and provide service to customers. While not essential in the traditional sense, she’s found everything they’ve done in building the business was about connection and community so when it comes to supporting people’s mental and emotional health they’ve played an important role.
In some ways, her business has increased as a result as, with people feeling a need to express their love and care for one another, they’ve received more pickup and delivery flower orders. Despite this uptick, however, Christianson said she did have to let her staff go and is now on her own at the store with Mother’s Day, their largest holiday, fast approaching.
Christianson was also unable to qualify for any of the government bailouts as her business has been just busy enough to put her above the threshold of eligibility. While it’s been a challenge, she’s been flexible enough to not lose everything and hopes that going forward, business picks up enough so she can stay open.
Currently, her store is open in a limited capacity for one or two people at a time with hand sanitizer on hand and browsing allowed discouraged in favour of an “in and out” approach. She’s open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. up until Mother’s Day, after which she will reevaluate.
“I think it’s going to be interesting (the economy). I’m a painfully optimistic person so for me I look at this as it’s going to reacquire change, it’s going to reacquire people to be flexible and creative but I think it will be devastating in many ways,” Christianson said. “I worry many of our local businesses will not open again.”
Past events like the Wildfires of 2017 have shown the people of 100 Mile House have grit, however, and she’s hopeful people will be able to hold on and support one another.