By JAYSON DIMAANO
There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses hard, especially the small ones, forcing some of them to close down for good. However, the pandemic is also inspiring people to be there for these small businesses in their time of need.
That’s certainly the case in the Kingston Road Village area.
“Since the pandemic started, we took it upon ourselves to do our best to help promote our local businesses,” said Aaron Bradley of the Kingston Road Residents Association, who has started up the #KRVLove campaign to help out.
“Before Christmas, we had a contest where members bought something from one of the businesses and they could post a picture with the hashtag “#KRVLove”. They had the opportunity to win a gift card to one of the businesses,” he said.
Bradley is being assisted by other members of the residents’ association (that started about 10 years ago) including Heidi Tsao, Amy Harcourt, Michel Resendes, Tanya Barrett and Heather Thompson.
“It was around a time when they were tearing up Kingston Road to upgrade the streetcar tracks,” said Bradley of the association’s creation. “A lot of the businesses were going to be affected by it. I started the group and my neighbours joined as a way to get the word out that some of our local businesses were struggling.”
To support the local businesses being hit hard by COVID-19 and the operating restrictions around it, the association started a GoFundMe campaign called #KRVLove Business Relief Fundon Jan, 9.
For the purposes of the fundraiser, the campaign is helping out businesses along Kingston Road between Main Street and Warden Avenue.
Bradley said that without some support, many of these local businesses will be in trouble.
“It’s great for us to say, ‘Support our local restaurants, get a burger, get take-out’, but lots of businesses are fully shut down,” he said.
“We can’t tell people to go get a haircut or go get a pedicure. We came up with this idea (the fundraiser) so the neighbourhood can help these businesses. This way, we can raise money directly and give direct help to some of these businesses…Not only are they neighbouring businesses, they’re also our neighbours and we don’t want them to go away.”
Some businesses impacted by the provincial lockdown include Cut ‘N’ Run Barbershop and Quick Fix Cellphone and Computer Repair.
The campaign’s goal was to raise $3000 but that has been surpassed and the goal is now $5,000.
“One of the great things is that some of the other businesses that are able to be open have also donated to the campaign,” said Bradley.
“They realized how great the community is, how the community supports them and has donated to the campaign so they can help other businesses. That is an awesome sign.”
Donations to the #KRVLove Business Relief Fund can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/kingston-road-village-business-2021-relief-fund