This interview is part of a series chatting with local business owners, artists, organizers and people in our community who are learning to adapt during COVID-19.
Kathryn Brown – Kate’s Kitchen
Describe your business.
From rustic chic to modern comfort, Kate’s Kitchen strives to have unique items that can’t be found anywhere else in the Quinte region. Kate’s Kitchen has an eclectic collection of kitchen supplies, cookware, bakeware, entertaining items and unique décor. Items are fun, funky, colourful and functional to get you from the kitchen to the table. Whether searching for that certain something for someone special or spoiling yourself, Kate’s Kitchen is a must-see!
What does working from home/your workplace look like for you right now?
My dining room table looks more like “mission control” these days with a laptop, cell phone, landline and tons of paper. While normally a retail shop owner, these days I’m working with our BIA staff in developing an online marketplace (they develop, and I test to see if it’s working as planned). Oh, and cooking every day and trying out new recipes — when I’m not doing tons of laundry and cleaning every couple of minutes!
How have you adapted your operations during the pandemic?
Until recently I’ve been strictly a brick-and-mortar location. But after being deemed a non-essential business and closing my doors on March 22nd , I had to change direction. Like many mom-and-pop locations, I didn’t qualify for most of the federal and provincial benefit programs; so, I had to find a way to adapt to the times. That adaptation was becoming a part of the Shop Downtown District online marketplace, learning some new skills and really upping my marketing game.
How have you been supported by the community?
The response to my online store has been pretty amazing. I was not sure how people would respond to the change and I’m very appreciative of their ongoing support.
We’ve had many organizations and people reach out to ask how they can support our new online marketplace: Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board, Belleville Chamber of Commerce, the City of Belleville, Mayor Panciuk, the media, local television and radio, plus people sharing our social media posts. Helping us get the word out is a key element. We count on our community coming together and they did just that.
What advice do you have for other business owners/organizers/artists/etc. at this time?
Be open to changing direction and taking a risk. Be willing to adapt, even when it takes you outside your comfort zone. Each challenge is another learning opportunity. Never quit.
Stay tuned as we share more local folks who are Makin’ It Work, and check out our weekly interviews (of the same name) every Friday on Instagram Live.