Even though the world shut down, the management of Prosport Fan Shop, just like everyone else in the small business industry, had closed doors for several months, but has re-opened them, even when times were tough on everyone around the world.

After some heavy brainstorming and creating new goals ranging from a way to cure boredom, to giving back, to cultivating a new creativity, we as small business owners had to find ways to power through seven months of a pandemic productively.

We also had to see a longer-term future for our businesses, thinking outside the box and working to outlast the virus.

ProSport Fan Shop’s VP of Operations, Sharon Walter, did just that, “I honestly had to think outside the box for the small business I was working for,” confesses Sharon, saying “I had to write down a honey-to-do list, so to speak. To help Prosport Fan Shop grow, beyond the brick and mortar. I had to move the business to the e-commerce side of business, and create an audience in the world of social media.”

With ProSport Fan Shop celebrating 9 years in business, in Owen Sound, two and half hours north of the GTA. They are excited to open their brick and mortar doors, including an e-commerce website, offering in-store, curbside, and ship to home shopping experiences.

“It’s definitely been kind of hard, as this it’s quite new to us, moving to the social media side of things.” she says, proud of the more than 4, 000 followers that we have accumulated on our pages.

“In a way, we can thank COVID-19 for prompting the new opportunities that have taken place. Such as, renovating our second floor, and expanding the floor plan of our brick and mortar. Bringing in new merchandise, some that we never thought would be possible. But, very excited to have it available for our clients”, she stated.

“I was starting to get pretty stressed out, and with all this lockdown stuff, I was able to focus on tasks that were put on hold, and use that time to update our website, and convert it into an e-commerce store. As well as, taking the opportunity to let my creative side come out and it turned out to be something I did out of boredom that could really help our business grow,” she says.

There were many challenges. “Right now, I have to put so much effort into letting people know that we are open, and promote the business in different ways, like our pop-up shops,” says Sharon, citing trust as one of the hardest barriers to overcome since the pandemic.

Sharon has faith that by expanding the business, both online, and in the brick and mortar location, will pay off in the end. She knows that providing exemplary customer service is the way to go after the hardships the world has endured.

“I think that’s what it is like working for any type of business right now, even though it’s fun. During COVID it’s about holding yourself accountable,” she says, noting the difficulty of following strict upgraded hygiene guidelines set by public health authorities.

When asked, What is one thing you have taken from this, she reflects, “It’s added a mix of relief and stress to my life in a very positive way,” she notes, reflecting “ I think the best advice I come back to is patience, and hopefully if we keep at it, businesses will become more resilient moving forward.”