'There would still be a traditional store': What shopping in Saskatoon could look like after COVID-19
SASKATOON -- As many restaurants offer take-out food, a locally owned gaming store is offering take-out videogames or electronics.
Anthony Foster, owner of Next Level Game Exchange, allows pickup during the day and delivery at night.
"Get it all bagged up. There is a table outside the store, we can put it outside for you to pick it up. And then we also have delivery available every day from six to nine.”
With the store closed and no customers allowed in, he is trying to hang on by taking orders by phone and social media. It's at least kept the lights on so far.
"I think it’s something we’ll survive on for a few months. It’s hard to say in the long term if it would be feasible.”
Other retailers are finding ways to keep product moving without opening stores. A marketing professor says if social restrictions last long term, stores already on the brink of closing could be shuttered.
"It will accelerate their demise those which are on borrowed time already. We have just seen Pier 1 go under. So I think if there's any of those retailers in a similiar situation, they won't make it out alive,” said David Williams, professor of management and marketing at the Edwards School of Business
Williams expects over the long term, larger chains may increase their online presence and may offer more delivery or pick-up options. Automation could become more prevalent. But brick and mortar stores won’t be going away.
"There would still be a traditional store because there will still be the people who want to shop and browse and experience the store.”
After the difficult decision to lay off staff, some who went to high school across the street, Foster hopes to survive long enough to re-hire them. He is thanking those who buy local.
"It means the world when people think of somebody local, somebody who lives in their neighbourhood.”