By Justin Seward
Bow Island Ace Hardware owner Robin Knibbs says business has been steady amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been actually a bonus for us,” said Knibbs.
“People have supported us locally. I can’t complain a bit. It’s slowed down a bit the last few months. But the first three, four months were just great.”
Bow Island Ace Hardware was up 30 to 35 per cent in sales at the beginning of the pandemic and currently sits at between 20 to22 per cent .
The hardware store saw back in the spring that customers were coming in for spring and summer items as well as gardening , paint, plumbing and electrical supplies to include in their own preventative maintenance.
“Overall our warehouse kept most of it in stock,” he said.
“A lot of stuff- the turn around time- was a lot longer than normal.”
Other items such as personal protective equipment were a challenge to order.
“We ran out of personal protective equipment-like it was hard to get the wipes and the Lysol sprays and the gloves and especially the masks. Now there are all sorts of masks out there and at the time a lot of the manufacturers and the people that were doing it were gauging people. Prices were going out of whack.”
Knibbs did not like the gauging and did not order that stuff at the high price.
Knibbs added they had to turn customers away because the store did not have a certain product and would redirect them to another store in town.
He says the community has been supportive and safe too.
“We’re just starting to wear masks but people have been calm and waited their turn and things ran really smooth,” he said.
Knibbs feels more people who have not dealt with the local hardware store much are the ones coming in and seeing what the town has to offer.
“They realize ‘ Gee, Bow Island has a lot to offer,’ and hopefully just through them shopping here-seeing what we have- and hopefully can say we don’t have to drive here or have to do it online. I can look at it, feel it, pick it up and walk away with it today,” he said.