When much of the island went into self distancing, many who normally purchase their groceries in Campbell River started frequenting local stores. The Cortes Natural Food Co-op experienced a 30% increase during March and April. Bertha Jeffery, from the Cortes Market, told the second Cortes Island virtual conference, “Our sales are equivalent to the summer and we have half the staff.” That was on March 25. Now the province is starting to return to normal. Where will Cortesians shop after COVID?
Decrease In Local Sales
“People are still going to Campbell River. Not as much as last year, but the traffic off-island is increasing as people tire of the restrictions.”
Squirrel Cove General Store normally serves the tourists plying our waters.
“Sales are lower this season due to lack of boaters. This is partially being compensated as residents are shopping more locally. There is still a significant difference which will grow as the summer season continues without the tourist trade,” explained Cunningham.
Some New Customers Will Continue
They both believe some of their ‘new’ island customers will continue to shop locally.
When you factor in the gas, ferry costs, time expended and benefits to the local economy, there are good reasons to shop locally.
“I am often getting comments that our prices are comparing favourably with going to Campbell River, “said Cunningham.
“It looks like people will mostly go back to their old habits, but it’s hard to say. We’ll have to wait and see,” said Eric Hargrave, General Manager of the Cortes Natural food Co-op,
Dougan added, “The biggest change is the amount of people who seem to order their food ahead of time for delivery and pick up.”