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What a country we came back to! Thailand in the middle of March was already taking many precautions against the coronavirus: flights from China had long since been suspended; everyone was wearing a face mask; temperature reading and manditory hand sanitizing was everywhere, and the effect was that there were fewer cases in the entire country than in British Columbia. At YVR there seemed, in contrast, to be no preparedness; there wasn’t even a pamphlet or any information regarding guide-lines for in-coming travellers. We had checked on the CBSA website, and at the time self-isolation was “recommended”, and only required if you exhibited any flu-like symptoms. The oddest thing to us was that in Thailand people were taking precautions but not panicking; in Vancouver they were doing the opposite, cleaning out supermarkets of toilet paper and tinned beans, for example, but looking at you as if you were a leper if you wore a face mask.
As March progressed it was dawning on the country how severe this was going to be, as businesses and schools closed, and we came to know what “social distancing” meant. While many were affected worse than us, we were grappling with the realization that all of our sales for the spring – wholesale and retail – had vanished, and even the summer season was in doubt. At the same time all of our shipments purchased over the winter were in motion. This was the good news: even though they had to be paid for, at least they were coming!
When our 216 rugs arrived at our loading dock in Chemainus we were ecstatic! As well as being thrilled by the beauty and character of each one as we spread them out, the whole process gave us a focus: making labels, categorizing, recording, sorting and storing was a lot of work, and had to be done before the Bali shipment arrived. And they gave us the potential to generate some income.
With no pop-up sales on the horizon, we are now doing the same as many of our small business friends: putting our store on-line. It is still a work in progress, so please be patient while we add content and fine-tune our site! Our Store is our commerce page, and all the rugs, as well as details of them can be seen here, although we haven’t enabled the check-out and payment functions yet. If you see anything you are interested in, please contact us.
We are happy to take payment by credit card, paypal, or etransfer. For the time being, we will provide free shipping in Canada on orders over $300, although the shipping charges of any returns must be paid by the buyer. Because of the volume of goods being processed by couriers and Canada Post, wait times may be lengthy. If you are near our part of the country, Chemainus on Vancouver Is., you can meet us – at a distance of 2 metres and with advance notice – at our warehouse. As mentioned, shipping charges on any refunds must be paid by the buyer, and we will issue a full credit for the value of the returned goods when they are received, but no monetary reimbursment or credit card refund.
We sincerely hope that we will be able to take our travelling store on our well-established route through the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island this summer – if not we will miss all of the wonderful people we have come to know after all these years! To all of you, whether we have met or not: thank you for reading, stay safe, and here are some beautiful rugs to brighten your day!