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Column: Trying times for local business owners

It breaks my heart to see everything that local businesses have had to endure during the pandemic.

It breaks my heart to see everything that local businesses have had to endure throughout the pandemic.

Yes, we have entered a new year with high hopes. Unfortunately, new numbers on the calendar haven’t wiped the slate clean for many.

I would say the worst part of my job so far has been covering the pandemic. It seems with each passing week, we are tasked with writing the heartbreaking stories that come with it. For me, that has included interviews with local business owners.

Covering these types of stories has taught me a few things. The first thing I’ve learned is how much hard work these community members put into providing residents the services they want and need. The second is how inspiring it is to see the community rally around the businesses that truly need our support.

The entire journey through the pandemic has been challenging. Many business owners likely couldn’t have fathomed they would be shut down once, let alone twice, in less than a year. As I write this, many businesses still are not allowed to open their doors, as restrictions will remain in place until at least Jan. 21.

Of the business owners I’ve interviewed in the last year, a few have said the damage done may be beyond repair. Just the thought of someone pouring everything they have into a business venture, only for it to fail through no fault of their own, is enough to tug at the heart strings of anyone.

It is unfortunate there isn’t a magic wand that can be waved to take the troubles of these hard-working people away. I do not look forward to seeing the wreckage after the dust settles. I hope that once we are in a place of normalcy, the resilience of our community’s business owners will be remembered and celebrated.

Through all of it, Airdrie has still seemingly dealt with this chaos a little better than other places, which I believe is a testament to what a close-knit community this city has become. There have been numerous examples of people posting to Facebook that a business needs help, and in no time at all, Airdronians pour out in socially distanced droves to ensure their friends and neighbours stay afloat.

As vaccinations and lower case counts continue to be a main talking point among Albertans in 2021, I hope we can get a handle on the situation for businesses soon. Local and provincial governments have only been able to provide financial support so much and only in certain cases.

The sooner we can reopen the doors of our local business community, the sooner we can return to the flourishing and vibrant nature Airdronians have come to know and love.

Jordan Stricker

About the Author: Jordan Stricker

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