Cameron Wheatley now uses a small net to pass change back to his customers through a small take-out window at the French Creek Harbour Store he owns.
“Not in a million years did I see myself ever doing this,” he said. “Four thousand square foot store out of a 1.5 square foot window. No, absolutely not.”
It’s just one of the new measures he’s had to take after closing the main 4,000 square foot general store in mid-March because of the COVID-19.
“You know we’re down, probably 50% to 55% of sales but it’s 45% better than if we were closed,” Wheatley added.
“And you know we don’t really fall under any of the government benefits at this point. we don’t want to defer any taxes, take any loans or anything like that so this seems to be the best way to keep the lights on and keep the bills partially paid anyway.”
The customers at the French Creek Harbour Store come to the window, give him their list and then he goes to collect everything from eggs to nuts and bolts and downriggers.
It’s enough to keep him in business and his customers happy.
“Well, I’m pretty impressed with them. They’re keeping a good attitude through everything. I’d bring my business here before I go to some chain store,’ said Sol Chidley, who was over from Lasqueti Island Thursday.
Wheatley primarily continues to serve nearby residents, fishermen and people from Lasqueti Island.
“We’re so lucky to have Cameron open because we need our bait and tackle and to be able to feed ourselves and a lot of us really depend on just a basic marine store,” said Guillaume Bickford, also from Lasqueti Island.
Wheatley says the combination of fishing closures and COVID is taking its toll but everyone’s in the same boat.
“You know we’re all in this together so we just have to work it through the best we can and we’ll get through this, we’ll get through this, it’s just going to take some adapting,” he said.