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.
Alex + Celine Bruce-Lepage – The Lark
Describe your business.
The Lark is a spirited neighbourhood restaurant, a bustling cultural hub and a stopping place in the downtown core.
What does working from home/your workplace look like for you right now?
We are home with two kids under the age of five, which makes our workplace challenging. I am not going to lie, Disney and Netflix are essential to allowing us any quiet work time. We also adopted a puppy to keep the kids busy, which of course has backfired because the kids are three and four years old. Anyway, petting a big puppy is very soothing!
How have you adapted your operations during the pandemic?
We closed for three weeks. We just hired Emily back this week and we hope we can increase our volume soon to get Dave back. Anybody that knows the lark family, knows that the place isn’t the same without all four of us.
How have you been supported by the community?
When the closures were first mandated we did take-out for two weeks. We had regulars ordering food, some multiple times a week, and it felt good to know they were rooting for us.
What is something good that has come from this difficult situation?
We got a puppy!
What advice do you have for other business owners at this time?
Try your best not to worry about stuff you can’t change. In order to survive we have had to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. A huge part of the lark was our service and product knowledge — we cannot deliver that in the same way. Alex has worked really hard to make our website user friendly and we are relying heavily on images (well-composed photographs) and simplifying our offerings to make it more palatable to our guests.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We have all been changed, irrevocably, by this shared experience of living through a pandemic. It has forced us to stop and reflect on what really matters. How do we want to spend our time? Where do we want to spend our money? What do we consider “essential”? Necessarily, this has created a space in which we are, on a daily basis, choosing what we can and cannot live without.
Hospitality, as an industry, is being challenged and it is not clear what space it will occupy in the future. With that in mind, we are trying to respond to these changes, and provide what we think our community wants/needs. Ultimately, it is our neighbours and our community that will get to decide.
Stay tuned as we share more local folks who are Makin’ It Work, and check out our weekly interviews (of the same name) on Instagram Live every Friday.