Sales ‘sluggish’ in Smoky River

Richard Froese
South Peace News

While grocery stores remain busy, many small retail businesses open in the Falher and McLennan area continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Falher IDA Pharmacy and McLennan IDA Pharmacy owner Barb Gardecki says COVID has hurt business at both stores.

“Business is definitely down, it’s a lot slower,” Gardecki says.

“People are watching their pennies and shopping online.”

Products for hygiene and cleaning are hot items.

“We’re selling lots of toilet paper, sanitizers and cleaners,” Gardecki says.

The pharmacy department continues to fill prescriptions, she adds.

“Dispensaries are still busy,” Gardecki says.

Red Apple in Falher has seen business drop from one year ago, store manager Michelle Dovell says.

“We’re down by about one-third to one-half the number of customers we had last April,” Dovell says.

“We have fewer people in the store, they’re spending more to stockpile.”

However, she doesn’t know how that relates to dollars and cents.

She notes that some items have been in high demand.

“We’ve noticed a lot more sales in toys, board games, electronic games and movies, to keep kids buys,” Dovell says.

“As the weather warms up, we’re also seeing more people come in to buy items for gardening.”

Sammy’s Steak and Pizza in Falher was back in business April 20 after being closed since March 28, manager Majid Riaz says.

“We were crazy busy the first week we re-opened,” Riaz says.

“We’ve been busy since,” Riaz says.

Sammy’s offers only take-out service to comply with health orders.

“Most restaurants in the area are closed,” Riaz says.

He says people welcome the opportunity to eat a take-out meal.

“They appreciate that we’re open again,” Riaz says.

Still, ne notes that many people may still be staying close to home.

“Grocery stores are busy,” Riaz says.

McLennan Home Hardware owner Bruce Brulotte says business is on par as any spring season.

“We’re much the same as we were last year at this time,” Brulotte says.

“They’re all renovating because they’re at home.”

He says a reduced number of employees are busy as some have decided to stay at home and be with their families.

“Financially, we’re lucky we can stay open,” Brulotte says.

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