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Sylvan Lake businesses being creative during COVID-19 outbreak

Many businesses are changing their business models or offering services in a new way

Businesses in Sylvan Lake are being more creative in how they offer services to customers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Local businesses are offering curb-side pick-up, e-transfers, online ordering and much more to stay operational during an unstable and uncertain time for everyone.

Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce President David Phillips says that creativity is needed now to keep a business operational during the COVID-10 outbreak.

“Being creative is the only thing we can do. With what we are going through right now, it can only be dealt with by being creative,” Phillips said.

Local restaurants are offering delivery, when they hadn’t before. They are changing their hours to be more accommodating to their customers during a difficult time.

Some restaurants are even changing their menus to offer family meals.

“I think businesses are finding a niche that needs to be served during this time and are doing just that,” Phillips said.

Creativity in business is something Phillips believes we will see even after the COVID-19 passes.

“We are seeing creative measures right away with businesses that are proactive, and we will see it more in other businesses in this next wave. And, I think it we will see businesses finding new and creative ways to interact with customers moving forward.”

Many businesses in Sylvan Lake have temporarily closed their, some as a precaution and others as directed by the provincial government.

Phillips says there is still ways to help business even when their doors are closed.

“This isn’t the time to undervalue the power of referrals and reviews,” Phillips said, adding the action could be as simple as liking a Facebook page.

“We are all sat at home right now, and writing a simple review for your favourite business can really help.”

In general, Phillips says it is a good idea to connect with your favourite businesses over social media.

Many businesses are very active on social media, and are using social media to share important information, such as hours, payments types, specials and sales.

He says it is important to “not just assume” a business is closed during this epidemic.

“So many businesses are retooling their business models to not only stay in business but to help their community,” Phillips said.

Now is also the perfect time to purchase gift cards to local businesses.

By purchasing a gift card you can ensure a favourite restaurant or store is still getting revenue during a precarious time.

Soon, the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce will be rolling out a new app which will allow local businesses a new way to stay in contact with their customers, and give customers another way to stay up to date with what is happening with their favourite business.

“This will be a great outlet for small businesses, because we know not everyone has a website or social media,” he said.

It is unclear how long the epidemic will last, and many were already struggling through an economic downturn.

Philips believes businesses in Alberta can survive with the support of their communities.

“There is no good time for an epidemic, but we were already in a recession and times were difficult. I think Alberta has been struck with a number of issues over the years, but it is a resilient province.”