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Castlegar, Greater Trail businesses cope with highway closures

Some Castlegar businesses are having a hard time doing business in the wake of floods and highway closures in the rest of BC, while others are telling customers not to panic.

Stewart Ady of Ernie’s Used Auto Parts says they are unable to send anything to the Lower Mainland right now, whereas normally they would be shipping things every day.

“The freight companies definitely cannot move the product, which is understandable,” he says. “We have a section of our warehouse that’s filling up with pallets and crates of product that need to go to the coast. We’re very fortunate that our clientele is being patient in waiting for this stuff.”

Ady says business is not entirely at a standstill.

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“We’re down in sales but we’re surviving because we’re sending our product to northern BC and out to Alberta, so we’ll get through it,” he says.

Ady says he sympathizes with those in the Lower Mainland who are hard hit by flooding and assisting them has to be the top priority right now.

Meanwhile, the manager of the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce says a couple of delivery companies have temporarily laid off staff.

“For some of the businesses that were already having supply chain issues because of COVID, this is really concerning,” Tammy Verigin-Burk says. “How long will it take before movement of products resumes?

On the other hand, a couple of grocery stores are seeing people coming in and “shopping to extremes,” she adds.

“The [stores] are trying to get the message across that they bring in their products from Alberta so it’s completely unnecessary to be hoarding. They will have product in their store.”

In particular, Verigin-Burk says there have been concerns over the milk supply, but a local company will ensure that the community remains stocked.

Some stores are also limiting meat purchases.

In Trail, Chamber manager Erika Krest says fast food outlets have been having trouble keeping supplies stocked, and a pizza place has closed.

“The days and weeks ahead are going to be hard on some of our small and medium size businesses for sure,” she says. “We are already facing supply chain challenges. I encourage all affected businesses to reach out to your local chamber and talk to your business recovery advisory and take whatever help we can offer.”

The advisor’s job is to connect businesses with resources, Krest said.

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