Coronavirus not stopping some Kamloops entrepreneurs from starting a new business

Business is good, city says

Businesses all over the world have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although some have closed shop, the City of Kamloops is reporting that more local businesses have opened this year compared to 2019.

"It gives me great pleasure and comfort knowing that the business owners in the city seem to be showing some resilience over this pandemic and that it is shown in our numbers with our business licences that have increased over last year's numbers," Dave Jones, the city's business licence inspector, tells Castanet.

August, September and October have shown a considerable increase in business licence applications.

From January of this year to Oct. 31, 2020, 331 businesses closed, Jones says. For comparison, 375 closed during the same period last year.

In October 2019, 57 business licences were issued; in October 2020, that number almost doubled, with 88 business licences handed out.  

In fact, two new shops are opening their doors this month.

Raven Hair Beauty Bar just opened their doors at 201-175 Fourth Ave. The beauty bar does everything from makeup to hairstyling, cut and colour, and microblading.

Owner Raelle Adkins says the pandemic did not deter her from opening; if anything, it encouraged her.

"I wanted a space to creatively express myself not only with hair but with makeup and microblading. My goal is to create unique, customized looks that suit my clients' lifestyle and desired look."

"I wanted to create a safe and calm environment for my clients during COVID. I wasn't hesitant because I knew it would make my guests feel comfortable and relaxed in a smaller one-on-one environment," she adds. 

In retail, Artisans' Bazaar, located at 705 Victoria St., recently opened with a goal to showcase local handmade products. The gift store allows artisans to rent out space to show off their products, while the owners take care of retail and marketing. Crafters can even decorate their assigned space to make it their own and they don't have to pay any commission, just a rental fee for the spot.

Co-owners and life partners Viloka Luna and Matte Kocsis came up with the concept because they are artisans themselves and they feel it's important to support local businesses. 

As for the COVID-19 pandemic, they did not hesitate to open up.

"The crazy amount of support that we have received from people within the Kamloops community has made us confident that we can do this," Luna says.

"There's a very big sense of 'support local' in this community and that assured us," she adds.

The business licensing department at the City of Kamloops shares that sentiment.  

"It's important to realize that the citizens of Kamloops have supported the businesses that are open," Jones says.

"And for the most part, the business owners within the city have shown resilience. People believe there is still a future in Kamloops to do business."

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