Downtown St. Catharines in survival mode through 2020

Downtown St. Catharines in survival mode through 2020

Selling potatoes and pickles alongside lattes and espressos wasn’t part of any long-term plan for downtown coffee shop owner Chris Lowes.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has meant adapting his St. Paul Street business Mahtay Cafe in creative ways to keep afloat. Right now, that means selling hard-to-find and local groceries and produce that can be picked up or ordered online.

“I never thought I’d be taking pictures of broccoli and boxes of crackers but I am. That’s what my life has come down to, trying to get just the right light for a picture of crackers,” Lowes quipped.

Mahtay is just one downtown shop that has creatively changed its business model to weather the severe financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The core’s independent retailers and restaurants have launched or improved websites, offered curbside pickups and deliveries, created pre-prepared meals, participated in virtual markets and even, like Mahtay, expanded their offerings.

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