MONTREAL -- For the second year in a row, the dining rooms in Quebec's fabled sugar shacks are empty but one enterprising owner is hoping he's found a way to survive the hard times.

Pierre Faucher, owner of the Sucrerie de la Montagne, normally would have a packed room filled with singing, dancing and, of course, massive servings of food.

On Monday, Faucher's team will start tapping the trees, with the hope of collecting 500 gallons of maple water a week. In normal years, the beginning of the syrup season would see 30,000 people come through the shack, but this year, only the boutique is open while the kitchen does take-out only.

That's why he's taking part in a provincial a campaign called “Ma cabane a la maison,” which brings a modified version of the sugar shack experience to customers' homes.

“My goal is to sell 5,000 boxes, which should be okay, because we started 10 days ago and already sold 700,” he said.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 of Quebec's 200 sugar shacks have closed. Faucher attributes his survival to “my people, my customers, my loyal friends.”

But there's also government grants, which he acknowledges have been a raft in a turbulent sea.

Faucher hopes his new project will see him through until the pandemic ends.

“Yes, I'll be a little more in debt, but who cares?” he said. “I will survive.”