In 1996, when Shannon Dyck and her family were deciding where they wanted to call home, it was the many benefits a small town has to offer that cinched the decision to live, and ultimately start a business, in Cochrane,” says owner Shannon Dyck, owner of Shannon Designs Embroidery & Promotions.
“I have always been creative; embroidery was another way that I could feed my creativity. I started out at home doing this as a hobby when my daughter was young. It allowed me to stay home with her and run a business. It grew as she did. The more I learned, the more I loved it. Then the decision was made to go from a home embroidery/sewing machine to a big commercial machine, and I haven't looked back. I love seeing teams, clubs and businesses sporting their brand. It brings everyone together.”
Although Dyck has operated her in-house embroidery and screen printing business for 18 years, the pandemic took a toll because of how it affected her client base.
“The majority of my business is sport/team/club/event driven,” she says. “All of the work I had lined up for the spring was cancelled with the onslaught of COVID-19. I went into mask making. It’s not a moneymaker, but it was a service that I could offer. We also donated over 100 #cochranestrong decals to businesses and individuals that were going above and beyond, as well as those nominated by the community. We sold stickers and donated $250 from the sales to the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank.”
Dyck says, as a solo-entrepreneur, it was a little easier for her to adapt than a business with many employees.
"We were closed to customers but still trying to work, as there was work to do. We offered free delivery and curbside pick-up while doing the regular disinfecting, social distancing, etc. Now customers are welcome to come in but, for those that do not wish to, we can still do curbside pick-up and drop off. We can be reached by email and phone as well.”
Cochrane is a strong community, Dyck says. "This was new terrain we all had to learn to navigate and so many people and groups in our community really stepped up to be supportive. It makes me proud to be a part of Cochrane.
"There is always something to learn in any situation; this has been a huge learning curve mentally and financially for many. ‘Just keep swimming,’ as Dory would say! Be kind to those businesses you frequent because there are so many things we are trying to navigate and juggle. We all work hard and want to see our business thrive. Small business is truly the heart and soul of a community. We are the first ones who step up and donate/volunteer to whatever cause we can.”
Nerissa McNaughton is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Great West Newspapers. This story was funded by the Facebook Journalism Project Supporting Local News Coverage of COVID-19 Program via the Local Media Foundation.