• Royal Register

Support To Avoid Thwhart

Tanishka Baratam, Grade 9

COVID, one of the biggest household names, is still the talk of the town, even almost two years after it entered into the lives of over 7 billion people. It still takes you aback to think of the magnitude of COVID-19’s effect. Yes, everyone must be tired of hearing about COVID, but a certain category of people take the top spots for being the most tired of the coronavirus. Who are those people? The owners of small, local businesses.

Big-box stores were open throughout the lockdowns because they are considered essential, you can find all your necessary items there for very low prices. Even with many stores open, not many people will stop at a small gift shop, browse the shelf, and find a hidden gem when they can shop for a gift at Walmart or Superstore, and find something out of the numerous things there. However, these big-box businesses lack the attention and care local businesses put into all their products and/or services. What they do is from the heart and for the people, not usually for the money. Regardless of the kindness of these businesses, most did not get the luxury of being open through the lockdowns. Even without COVID, these businesses run on life-support because of our need for convenience , the lowest prices, and disregard of the story behind the product. After COVID, their life-support started failing and became weaker each day. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, so with things opening up, we should guide these business owners to the light by showing our support.

A small gift shop that you can check out if you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone or doing some early Christmas shopping and don’t mind a trip to College Street in Toronto, is Izibele. Not only do they have stunning South-African designed, handmade products ranging from clothing to accessories, toys to household items and decorative pieces, but they also support “one-person street vendors, home-based craftspeople and social upliftment programmes”(Izibele, December 15, 2020). At Izibele the person who makes the product is the decider of its price. When the owner Abigail Pugh went to places such as Zimbabwe and Namibia, she recognized the talent of many people, and through Izibele, all those people have a chance to expose their products to a wider crowd. Some products are also made by local artists right from Toronto. The store deals with the makers personally. As Iziabele says “That’s why every single one of our pieces has an interesting story behind it!” (Izibele, December 15, 2020). Abigail Pugh also published a blog on her website titled “Open and Closed,” which provides some insight into her pandemic story. The title itself expresses the sadness, frustration, and disappointment she must have felt. By buying their products, you will be part of this connection between a skilled and passionate maker who puts so much thought and precision into each product. The store you are buying it from has a store owner who strives to support these great artists and popularise their skill. You are buying this product and supporting them in their journeys. Add meaning to your purchase and have a stylish new piece to your wardrobe or house. They also offer different styles of shopping so you can comfortably shop in COVID.

For the fall season, if you’re interested in taking a tasty trip to another type of cuisine, you should stop at Rick’s Good Eats on Kennedy Road in Mississauga. They are a Punjabi-Canadian culinary where they cook with fresh ingredients and have food with powerful flavors. The food and restaurant are rooted in Rick Matharu’s childhood and experiences. Rick’s Good Eat is derived from Mr. Matharu’s immigrant experience, something many people, especially in Canada, can relate to. He tries to bring comfort food and its essence to the people. He brings the feeling of home through food. Furthermore, his mother is a partner in the business. This is the specialty of small, local businesses. They retain that homeliness, uniqueness and don’t lose sight of the purpose and values of their business.

So many extraordinary stores with beautiful stories and goals are forced to close down, and many employees are losing their jobs when they may be the breadwinners of their families. When we aren’t restricted from going to stores, we have the power to save them from the brink of closure and tragic times for their families. There are many ways we can help by buying a simple product in their store or giving donations or just spreading the word about them. We shouldn’t sit tight with our hands bound if we know there is something we can do. Show your support.

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