London Drugs will be dedicating shelf space in select stores to small businesses that have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Richmond-based company announced Tuesday.
That space, located in the centre aisles of the stores – which the company says it is “transforming into local central” – will be stocked with products entirely from local businesses.
All sales of the products will go back to these local businesses.
“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,” said Clint Mahlman, president and chief operating officer of London Drugs.
“As a 75-year-old Canadian-owned and operated company, we have always supported fellow Canadian businesses and now is the time, more than ever, to come together. As an essential service, we are here to help our local small businesses while also providing an opportunity for customers to pick up their favourite local items and support their favourite local companies.
“Whether you sell coffee, local honey or your restaurant’s graphic T-shirts, London Drugs is here to help,” he said.
According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, only 21 per cent of small businesses in Canada are fully open due to COVID-19, while 77 per cent have had to either partially or fully close.
The survey also found that 42 per cent of small business owners are worried they will have to close their business permanently after the pandemic.
Small businesses in Western Canada can submit products for consideration to London Drugs, through an online form, starting Tuesday – although there are some restrictions.
The business must have a valid Canadian business license or permit, and must be based in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.
The products cannot be alcohol, cannabis or tobacco, and must be physical items (not service-based). The products also can’t require refrigeration or freezing.
Businesses that are deemed essential services, such as grocery stores, and are operating at full capacity don’t qualify, according to London Drugs.
Customers can also local businesses they think would benefit from the initiative on London Drugs' social media posts.