In response to the PHO’s recent shutdown of indoor seating in restaurants and cafes, within days the
Slocan Valley Economic Development Partnership and Community Futures of Central Kootenay
moved to assess the seating capacity of Slocan Valley food service businesses.
We contacted every F&B business that was open for business and gauged their ability to shift to
outdoor-only seating. Most businesses were lacking in both seating and funds to invest. We therefore
offered to contribute 50% towards the cost of new picnic tables as a gesture of support. Due to rising
lumber costs, these tables that sold for $170 last year were now $250. Our contribution therefore was
$125 per table.
The response was very positive with 8 out of 12 businesses participating and ordering a total of 20
picnic tables within a week of the promotion beginning. In the end the promotion cost us $2,500 plus
another $350 to print forty 4×4″ metal signs with our logo. The picnic tables are made in the Slocan Valley, with the lumber purchased directly from the local independent mill Kalesnikoff Lumber Co.
The promotion was simple to execute – F&B businesses place the order directly with the manufacturer,
pay in full and arrange pick-up. We printed the signage and the manufacturer installed them. The
businesses then submit to us a receipt, a photo and an invoice, we cut them a cheque and voila!
Timing was everything – just when the province dealt business owners a blow just before Easter long
weekend (and after their food supplies had been ordered), there was a hand offered to help lift them up.
They were genuinely relieved, felt supported and are now even more invested in our “Shop Slocan
Project Outcome 1:
- Added immediate, low-cost seating capacity (totalling 120 seats) to restaurants and cafes to offset the
loss of indoor seating.
- Benefit to businesses will extend for the life of a picnic table (5-10 years).
- Provides direct benefit to the bottom line of hard-hit F&B businesses.
Project Outcome 2:
- Added branding opportunity for our “Shop Slocan Valley” campaign by affixing small metal signage
on the picnic tables.
- Created more buy-in by F&B businesses to our shop local campaign.
- Adds warm “curb appeal” to villages where the restaurants and cafes are located.
- Gave a boost in sales to the local picnic table maker and a drop in the bucket for the local mill.