Puzzles and board games a fitting pandemic bright spot
VANCOUVER -- With COVID-19 restrictions cancelling holiday parties and forcing people to spend more time at home this season, many are turning to puzzles and board games for entertainment.
"Our sales this year have been unprecedented. Far, far above what we’ve seen in previous years," said Andrea Robertson, co-owner of Raincity Games. "We consider ourselves very fortunate to be in that position."
Jigsaw puzzles and board games have been flying off the shelves of the company’s Vancouver and New Westminster stores.
“There are all kinds of games for all kinds of needs and we've just seen an overall increase in games to serve those needs,” said Robertson. “Toilet paper got all the attention, but I promise you jigsaw puzzles were in just as much demand."
Raincity Games has been forced to adapt to the pandemic, like all businesses, but the retailer is faring much better than most. Foot traffic is still a big part of the company’s bottom line as people look to pass the time with their immediate family with games and puzzles, complying with B.C.’s pandemic protocols. Also, for the first time the owners are offering online sales and shipping, which has expanded their clientele.
"It's been a year of adaptation,” said Robertson. “It’s just been one thing after another, but we've been fortunate enough to be in a position to roll with the punches and make it all work. We never would have expected chess and jigsaw puzzles would be our sellout items."
Raincity Games is an exception. Many retailers are struggling right now, and small business owners are feeling the pandemic burnout.
"When we look at small businesses in British Columbia right now, only a third are making normal revenues for this time of year," said Muriel Protzer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "A lot of small businesses throughout this year, they've really been hanging on just trying to see to the other side of it. Unfortunately, the reality is not every business will be able to make it into 2021."
To help the economy rebound from the pandemic, the CFIB is urging consumers to choose small businesses whenever they can this holiday season.