Andy Dinner stares out his bar shop window, wondering what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the neighbors he loves.
“I’ve seen some businesses up close here. It’s sad. It’s definitely sad,” Dinner said.
Dinner, 33, is as local as a person. He lives six blocks from his barbershop and he was born on the street.
Forget Paris and London – for dinner, the strip of shops along Lake Shore Boulevard West in Toronto is the most beautiful place in the world.
“I’m lucky to be going abroad a bit, but I do not want to live anywhere else,” Dinner said. “This environment means literally everything to me.”
In the summer, as the pandemic erupted around the world, dinner took a chance – a big chance. Although businesses went bankrupt and closed due to the financial crisis, he did open one.
“I knew this particular place was vacant for about two years before I contacted the landlord and was able to negotiate some lower rent,” Dinner said.
At that time in July, when dinner was first leased, barber shops in the city of Toronto were still closed due to the epidemic.
Dinner, he said, would cost 000 22,000 and would take 45 days of renovations to lift the store.
“My dad and I became good friends making this store, and it was one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened in my life,” Dinner said.
- Check out Andy Dinner’s Buy-Local Initiative feature on Sunday November 1st National 9pm ET on the CBC News Network and 10pm local time on your CBC Television station. You can also catch National Online CBC Gem.
“Every day I walk into people and come into the shop and say thank you for putting something beautiful here. Thank you for putting something beautiful around us. It brings tears to my eyes,” he said.
“This is what I want to do. I wanted to have a store on this street forever.”
‘Being local saves us’
జ New study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business The second wave of COVID-19 shows that half the small businesses in Canada are losing money.
In places like Toronto and the Peel Region, two areas under strict regional restrictions, that number is 70 percent higher. Restaurants and bars were particularly badly damaged.
Dinner said he saw the devastation for the first time. He was at his favorite neighborhood bar recently after a day of work, and staff were told the place had to be closed due to restrictions on COVID-19.
“I saw their posture, their body language, their behavior. It’s sad,” Dinner said.
“I need to do something about this.” I came up with this idea. If you go to a local business, local restaurant, local bar, bring the receipt to my barber shop and I will give you five bucks from the haircut. “
Dinner announced its promotion on Instagram – and the idea began.
“The number of bar owners and restaurant owners reaching out to me and expressing their gratitude is really passionate, which is very high for me,” Dinner said.
During lunch he walks down the street with his barber towel hanging like a flag from his back pocket. Dinner outside the restaurant meets Double D’s Mike Yavorsky, who specializes in Chicago – style deep dish pizza.
Yavorsky greets dinner with a pretending bow. “I mean, clich to say ‘support the locals’, but you’re really local, you’re like the king of the lake shore.”
Yavorsky said COVID-19 almost destroyed his business.
“My Anxiety is making a living for my family right now, “he said.” I was married, I was seven years old, I had to pay the bills. If this continues, I will have to close the restaurant. “
He knows the idea of dinner for all the businesses in the neighborhood and they love it.
“If you could drive a little traffic here, I could save my customers $ 5 by getting a haircut instead and drive the traffic that way, oh, it really helps.”
Yavorsky explained that it was not just about the money, that tears welled up in his eyes.
“Sometimes I sit down and I don’t get a lot of orders, and I have to call it quits. It’s kind of tough, man. It’s kind of tough. So he gives you hope, he wants you to come to work, because sometimes you feel lonely and no one cares. I’m tearing up. I can not believe it, but he’s that kind of person. “
Hungry for the good news
Dinner ends with Dave Vanderstop cutting his hair, checking the young man’s receipt and giving him a discount.
Wanderstop, 26, is a local tattoo artist.
“I think [Dinner’s promotion] It reminds people that it’s not just private shops here, it’s a neighborhood.
Dinner sweeps in and the day shop is ready to close.
He says he now understands why his small idea had such a big impact on his surroundings.
“People want good news. The world is very hungry for positivity right now, everything is so dark right now. We’m going to overcome this and we’m coming out strong through little things like this. By doing our part.”