Brief: Retailers and Brands Share Good News Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The following are several good news stories pertaining to the Canadian retail industry. Retail Insider will be providing brief updates with positive news to balance some of the less-than-positive reporting taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sleep Country: Sleep Country Canada has announced that the company is donating $1.5 million worth of product to support local communities during the COVID-19 health crisis. The Giving Initiative will provide mattresses, beds, and sleep essentials to vulnerable communities and frontline medical workers across Canada.

Sleep Country’s donations will help improve the challenging conditions faced by homeless shelters and community living programs that are currently suffering with severe overcrowding. It will also help communal living spaces to implement physical distancing to fight in the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, announced the first recipient last week as the City’s Rapid Housing Access Initiative. Sleep Country is donating 100 beds including mattresses, adjustable bases, bed frames, sheets, protectors, and pillows to assist in providing residents with a safe and healthy living arrangements.

Additionally, the company is providing hospitals and care facilities with temporary rest and sleeping arrangements for frontline medical personnel working extended hours or for those who cannot return home to their families for fear of the virus spreading.

Monos: Travel has been out of the question for most since the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a clear end in sight, businesses within the travel sector are facing challenges and uncertainty of when, and if, the industry will recover.

Canadian luggage company Monos has pivoted its business model in response to the increased demand for sanitizers by launching The CleanPod, a hand-held sanitizing wand that uses UV light to kill bacteria on surfaces. As Monos wanted to create a product that would be both useful to the community and allow them to give back, they are donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to United Way Centraide, Canada’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

IMAGE: SAATVA FACE MASK

Saatva: Saatva, the affordable luxury direct-to-consumer bedding company, is one of many retailers innovating in the face of COVID-19 by shifting production lines from mattresses to face masks. Now committed to manufacturing PPE for hospitals and health-care workers, Saatva has announced the availability of a N95 mask production manual designed to help create a plug-and-play solution for other companies to use. Today, the company’s manufacturing network produces approximately 75,000 a week.

GoodTo Go: Toronto’s GoodTo Go Snacks company is facing the COVID-19 pandemic head on by donating over $50,000 of its healthy snack bars to hospitals and clinics across Ontario, including 14,000 bars to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Additionally, the snack company has donated thousands of bars to a Toronto family who is rallying local brands to create gift bags for frontline workers after finding out two family members had been tested positive for COVID-19.

SilverChef/inKind: SilverChef, Canada’s leading hospitality financier, has launched the national #ServingHospitality initiative in partnership with inKind – a community financing platform, which is expanding its operations into Canada to support this cause. The #ServingHospitality initiative aims to keep Canadian hospitality businesses resilient to the financial challenges caused by COVID-19 by providing them with an immediate cash injection, at a time when they need it most.

Customers are able to purchase e-gift cards —for the hospitality business of their choice — to be redeemed once the business reopens its doors. Registered hospitality businesses will also be offering an additional value credit on customer purchases between 10 percent and 30 percent.

Robert Phelps, President at SilverChef Canada, notes that “hospitality owners and entrepreneurs across Canada are facing financial challenges on a scale never seen before as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, Canadian businesses need our help.”

One hundred percent of purchases will go directly to hospitality businesses, and customers will be able to redeem their e-gift card through the inKind app. Hospitality businesses from British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have already signed up to the initiative.

“A thriving hospitality industry is central to Canada’s national identity, and we’re therefore excited to be entering a new market with such a vibrant and diverse hospitality landscape,” said Johann Moonesinghe, CEO at inKind.

Partners of the #ServingHospitality initiative include Restaurants Canada and the BC Hospitality Foundation.

To learn more about how you can support your favourite business visit www.servinghospitality.org and businesses and customers alike can also get involved with the new initiative by using the hashtag #ServingHospitality or by following along on Twitter @SilverChefCa, Instagram @SilverChefCa and Facebook @SilverChefCanada.

IMAGE: VANS

Vans: To support local business partners during these hardships, Vans has launched its ‘Foot the Bill’ initiative. Vans has committed to helping 80 small and independent businesses globally, including skate and specialty shops, restaurants, music venues and community-driven spaces by offering their custom-made designs available for purchase on Vans Customs. All proceeds (minus materials and shipping) will go directly to the local business that created the custom designs. Vans is thrilled to support over 80 businesses worldwide, including six Canadian stores in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montréal, and Saskatoon.

To shop “Foot The Bill” custom designs, please visit vans.ca/footthebill.

Nordstrom: In recognition of Earth Day last week, Nordstrom announced five new goals to demonstrate its continued commitment to combating climate change and increasing environmental stewardship in Canada as well as at its home base in the United States.

The fashion retailer has tracked significant progress toward conserving resources by making systemic changes throughout its corporate structure and supply chain and is focused on three key impact areas including climate change, environmental impact of its products and services, and circularity.

To address these specific areas, Nordstrom has committed to reducing single-use plastic by 50%, using sustainably sourced raw materials in 50% of Nordstrom Made products made of polyester, cotton, and cellulosic fibres, extending the life of 250 tons of clothing, ensuring 15% of all product is considered sustainable, and donating $1 million to support textile recycling innovation.

“Through this COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been given a unique opportunity to reimagine our future and rethink what kind of company we want to be for our customers, employees and shareholders. It’s clear that to deliver value to our stakeholders and communities, environmental sustainability needs to be a priority for our company,” said Pete Nordstrom, President and Chief Brand Officer at Nordstrom.

Ruscio Studio: Montreal-based design firm Ruscio Studio have been chosen as this year’s winner of the commercial category for the international 2020 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. The Canadian firm won for its Garden City Shopping Centre project in Winnipeg.

The Garden City Shopping Centre had not been renovated since 1989 so in 2017, Ruscio Studio was tasked with developing a sleek, contemporary new design that would stand the test of time. Through the use of floral upholstery, Canadian oak wood, and colourful lounge areas, the designers created a modern space that plays into the “garden” theme. Ruscio Studio was very careful to choose timeless, durable floor tiles that could withstand the next 20 years of heavy pedestrian traffic.

“We are very proud to be a Canadian design firm with a Canadian project as winners of this prestigious and international award competition,” said Robert Ruscio, President of Ruscio Studio.

We’ll be back with more of these posts next week. Have a good weekend and stay safe.

Article Author

Jessica Finch
Jessica Finch
Jessica Finch is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English and Psychology and is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Publishing program. She has extensive managerial experience in the food service industry, and is interested in exploring innovations within this sector and other retail environments.

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