Businesses slowly re-open, adjust to new normal in COVID-era Montreal
MONTREAL -- Montreal's businesses are slowly re-opening, but their return is to anything but normal.
At Verdun's Grover's Big and Tall, which re-opened in June, sales are a little more than half of what they were.
“It's not what it was and it will probably be a while before it'll be what it was,” said employee Anna Mambro.
Businesses such as Grover's have implemented sanitary measures as cautionary measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including plexiglass barriers.
“Financially, a lot of businesses have been hit and even if they have seen a spike in sales after their business re-opened, it's costing more to do business right now,” said Craig Patterson, editor-in-chief of Retail Insider.
Mambro said there's been a change in which items are in demand, as wedding season has passed by without many public nuptials to celebrate.
“There's no weddings, there's no funerals, there's no office buildings, the courthouse is closed,” she said. “What do you need a suit for?”
On Friday, Marche Bonsecours re-opened. Anne de Shalla, who heads up an umbrella group of her fellow merchants in the market, said business “could have been worse. It's not good, but it's not so bad.”
De Shalla said construction in Old Montreal and a lack of tourists have made it hard on shopkeepers in the market, some of whom have already had to permanently close their stores.
“A lack of tourists can be tough. What a tourist spends per person can often be substantially higher than what a local would spend,” said Patterson.
Patterson added there is some good news out there for sellers of luxury goods. Jeweller Joseph Tufemkce agreed with the assessment.
“It's positive, yesterday was busier than today,” he said. “I'm supposing that we're going to get busier every day.”