London Drugs stores in Edmonton will be the first to implement a new program aimed at helping local businesses sell their product amid the pandemic.
”We're starting off with a few of those stores right now in the Edmonton market, but as more businesses come on board, we'll continue to branch off into more stores," said Shelly Nicholson, manager of the London Drugs outlet in St. Albert.
On April 28, London Drugs announced the western Canadian retailer is offering up shelf space for local small businesses who have had to close their doors due to COVID-19.
In select locations, London Drugs will be transforming its centre aisles into local central, a dedicated space to help local businesses sell their products.
“This is a really hard time for many small businesses, and we are in a unique position in these challenging times where we can really help out,” stated London Drugs president Clint Mahlman in a statement.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports only 21 per cent of small businesses in Canada are fully open due to the COVID-19 pandemic and 50 per cent have reported that they are unsure if their business will survive.
As an essential service, London Drugs stores are permitted to stay open, but the retailer wanted to offer retail space to small businesses forced to close so they could still showcase and sell their products amid the pandemic.
"It's a great support for the small businesses that have not been able to open up because of COVID-19. London Drugs has been a Canadian retailer for over 75 years, and we want to be able to support the small businesses in all areas affected," Nicholson said.
Eligible businesses must be based in Western Canada and have a valid business licence or permit. Products must be physical items that do not require refrigeration or freezing, and exclude alcohol, cannabis or tobacco products. Other essential businesses who are operating at full capacity do not qualify.
Small business owners can visit the London Drug web site to find out if their products meet the requirements.
"It's really important for businesses to start applying right away, even though we're not officially starting in this location. That'll help get the process going," Nicholson said.
"We all have to stick together and help each other, and that's what this is about, is being there together and ensuring that we help wherever we can."
London Drugs has 80 stores throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.