Welcome to The Pivot series, where we celebrate the resilience and innovation of Atlantic Canadians entrepreneurs who adapted tremendously to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked business leaders from across the region to tell us in their own words how they navigated the new economy and the lessons they learned along the way. Here is what one entrepreneur had to say.

Thora Christensen

For Quanessence, business as usual consisted of in-person professional training, a reliable supply chain for ingredients and packaging, and stable business operations. And then of course March 2020 came around and our stable grounds were shaken to their core. 

Our first thoughts were to connect with other local companies and support the community where possible, which led us to formulate and manufacture, in collaboration with BioFood Tech and Deep Roots Distillery, a hand sanitizer according to WHO recommendations. This act allowed us to supply a product in short supply to our community and stay operational as an essential business. Although the market was quickly flooded with hand sanitizers, we were pleased to have had the flexibility to promptly pivot our manufacturing priorities to hand sanitizer. 

We also took this opportunity to turn to online commerce. All our distributors across Canada were also closed, and our wholesale and retail customers could no longer purchase or source our products. The shift to online retail and wholesale sales allowed us to maintain a form of revenue and continue to operate throughout the lockdowns. 

We received a tremendous amount of support from our community and the government. The wage subsidies were beneficial in helping to keep all employees who could work full time and avoid layoffs. The entire team was also brought closer together, with the team mentality becoming even more critical in such challenging times.

 The positives that Covid brought to our business were the growth in our online presence and business. We were also touched by the level of community support through the shop local movement. The importance of supporting local businesses is a conscious mindset that we hope is here to stay and we will continue to maintain.

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