As the coronavirus continues to body-check our global economy, closer to home our local small businesses, industry colleagues, and charities and non-profit organizations have all been thrown off their feet. Like everyone else, it has been an ongoing puzzle to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 so that we can keep doing what we do.
It has been an interesting ride for sure. Work on our pre-COVID renovation projects never stopped but booked, pending projects either deferred or cancelled and our sales and new project contacts virtually dried up. While business is definitely picking up, we’ve accepted that our bottom line this year will not be nearly as healthy as we projected. But what keeps me up at night is worrying about our team and their families. We’re a close-knit group and we never want to lose anyone. As it was, we had six guys that weren’t able to work because of COVID construction restrictions or because the projects they were previously working on finished and we had no new work for them. Luckily, we barely qualified for the wage subsidy, which meant that even though we didn’t have work for these guys, we were able to keep them on staff and top them up to almost full wages.
This would be grim in any situation, but the silver lining was that we could put six strapping young guys to work in the community volunteering labour. We felt that, if they’re not working but we’re paying them anyway, they may as well be put to good use. For us, supporting community is at the heart and soul of everything we do.
Many of our staff belong to our local Capilano Rugby Club, so we helped them out by renovating one of the change rooms and repairing a shed roof. Our local women’s resource centre badly needed help with some minor repairs. This centre runs on a shoe-string budget and they’ve been ham-strung finding affordable help with such simple things as putting up a window blind, installing some much needed cabinetry, fixing flooring and even changing burnt out and inefficient light bulbs in their high ceilings. It was a no brainer for us to fix these things for them. We’re also helping a local disability resource centre by creating two new kitchens in one of their group homes and building wheelchair accessible garden boxes in another.
Everyone has their own personal reasons why they try to make a difference. For me and Ben McKeen, co-owner of Twin Lions, giving back to the community where we grew up has always meant the world to us. Navigating through COVID has given us the opportunity to support other members of our community who we would not otherwise have met. It’s a feeling that money can’t buy. For that, we’re grateful. I know that we will continue to help out as much as we can even when normalcy eventually returns to our lives.
I think the biggest takeaway we’re learning through all this is just how much we take for granted in life – heading out to a restaurant or coffee shop, having a pint at the bar, or seeing my daughter hug great-grandma. My hope is that we will all come out on the flip side of these incredibly challenging times with greater compassion, a more balanced perspective in life, and a desire to really enjoy the things that are truly important.
Kevin Hatch, President