Dawson Creek hair salon pivots to e-commerce platform during pandemic

In 2020, Sue's Hair Upstairs received a $9,690 grant from Northern Development through the Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate program towards this $11,400 project. This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

In April 2020, Northern Development launched the Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate to support businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is designed to help businesses in a wide array of industries access the professional support they need to weather the current economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Sue Bertrand, owner, Sue’s Hair Upstairs.
Photo: Northern Development

Less than two months after SBR Consulting Rebate was announced, Sue’s Hair Upstairs, a Dawson Creek-based hair salon, successfully applied for a $9,690 rebate for an $11,400 project that would increase the online presence for the home-based business and allow them to sell products online.

“In essence, my business had gone from a growing operation that provided for myself and my family with a sustainable income stream to being an ever-growing financial burden,” said Sue Bertrand, owner, Sue’s Hair Upstairs. “As I operate my business out of my home, I had to defer my mortgage to cut operational costs. In addition, I had a large quantity of professional products with a limited shelf life, so I needed to reach a wider range of people so that the products didn’t expire and go to waste.”

The solution was for Sue’s Hair Upstairs to hire an expert creative agency to develop an e-commerce website for the company. This new platform enabled the business to generate some revenue through product sales while their doors were closed to the public. In addition, the sales system used on the website was integrated with the physical point of sale system in the salon to universalize payment processing and to save processing fees.

Sue with a client in the salon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Northern Development

“Being able to reach a broader customer base that spreads across Canada, this new website has opened up new doors for product sales that will continue to grow over time,” explained Bertrand. “Now I’m able to connect not just in person but digitally to many others that don’t live in Dawson Creek that are not aware of not only my products but also my experience in the hair industry.”

It is expected that this project will help Sue’s Hair Upstairs create new full- and part-time positions and increase revenue generation by $51,000 over two years.

The SBR Consulting Rebate reimburses small and medium sized businesses for contracted consulting services. A rebate of up to 85 per cent, to a maximum of $25,000 can be recovered for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business efforts. This funding program supports projects that help transition businesses to e-commerce platforms, just as Sue’s Hair Upstairs did, alternative modes of operation, business repositioning for a long-term return to profitability or improvements to operations and systems.

Sue Bertrand
Photo: Northern Development

Positive Economic Impacts in Dawson Creek

Sue's Hair Upstairs received a $9,690 rebate through the recently announced Small Business Recovery Consulting Rebate program to help them sell products online when the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their business.

Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate

This program is designed to help businesses reduce the barrier to accessing professional expertise and recover the costs of third-party consulting projects. These types of projects must focus on ways to sustain businesses during various industry and regional economic conditions. The SBR Consulting Rebate will reimburse small and medium sized businesses (operators) for contracted consulting services.

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$50,000 in e-gift cards sold to Northern B.C. businesses during pandemic

Over $50,000 in e-gift cards for local businesses in Northern Development's service region have been purchased through Support Local BC's online platform since April 2020.

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