In June, as part of its Canadian Business Resilience Network campaign, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), gave 62 small Canadian businesses from coast to coast to coast $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. Since then, grant recipients have been able to use the grant money to make changes that will help their business stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the story of Honkers Pub & Eatery from Lethbridge, Alberta.
“I am very honoured and humbled to be a recipient of the CBRN grant,” said Vicky Vanden Hoek. “It came at a time where we felt so defeated in business due to COVID and we were unsure what to do. After 35 years of being an entrepreneur, I was always able to pick up the pieces when things went wrong but COVID was a whole other story.
Due to the pandemic, Honkers Pub went from being open six days a week to four days a week along with operating on condensed hours.
“We kept the meals reasonable so people could both enjoy and afford with less profit,” shared Vanden Hoek. “We opened for pick up and curbside but revenue was hardly enough to keep those employed paid but we did by cutting costs across the company, including from me personally.”
Honkers Pub pivoted operations to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. At the beginning of the pandemic, it closed dine-in options and strictly became takeout only. As COVID-19 restrictions started to ease, Honkers Pub opened a temporary outdoor patio.
“As the sole owner, I myself am cooking, cleaning, serving and am both mentally and physically exhausted with the continual changes and drawbacks,” explained Vanden Hoek.
Being open an extra day allowed Honkers Pub to provide more jobs for its community and expand operations. The business has also been able to provide home-cooked meals for trade and essential workers in the community.
Honkers Pub has also been an active member of the local community through supporting Halo Air Ambulance and Canadian Blood Services by discounting and volunteering during the pandemic.
“We will continue to support the community that supports us as that has been our motto since opening in 1997,” said Vanden Hoek.
As for the future, Honkers Pub & Eatery will continue to adapt and pivot to ensure business longevity for their staff, community and business as a whole.
“Being an entrepreneur is what is motivating me,” shared Vanden Hoek. “Once it’s in your blood it’s always in your blood. When you have poured your life into a business you cannot lock the door and turn away, it’s your baby. We will remain positive, as every day is a new day. We are in it for the long run; we will jump over every obstacle. We are fighters and as long as we can be open, we will be open.”
To learn more about the CBRN Small Business Relief Fund and see the full list of grant recipients, visit the Small Business Relief Fund page.