Spreading Closures: The Businesses COVID-19 Shut Down

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With almost 30 million infected and almost one million dead, COVID-19 has brought ruin in spades. With this ruin change has come in equal measure, for better and for worse. We’ve traded in-person classes for recorded lectures, hangouts with friends for calls on our platform of choice, and office jobs for Zoom jobs. And the crazy thing? Many of these changes are likely to leave their marks for years to come. 

Some of these changes might even last longer – they could last forever. One in seven small businesses in Canada are on the brink of closing down. Almost half of them are making less than 75 per cent of their usual revenues. And 53 per cent of them are hiring less staff than usual. For small businesses, these sorts of losses are not easily recovered, and many local names may very well be no names when the dust settles.  

All this said, large businesses haven’t been spared, either. Here are three businesses you might know that are headed towards closure because of COVID-19. 

DavidsTea

The Montreal-based company specializes in selling a variety of teas. These range from the tried and true, such as chamomile teas, to the more eccentric, such as a hot chocolate flavored tea. Here, unusual does not translate to bad – their hot chocolate flavored tea is quite good.  

Despite their great products, the company’s fate has been steeped in struggle. Since their inception, DavidsTea has been plagued by annual losses on their income statements, and the pandemic has only worsened this struggle. As of today, they have already closed 82 stores in Canada in addition to abandoning the entirety of their American store presence. Unfortunately for them, this seems to be just the beginning. With DavidsTea filing for bankruptcy, expect more closures to come in the future. 

For those of you still interested in teas, DavidsTea’s plans to maintain an online presence as they aim to transition away from brick-and-mortar stores. 

Squish 

Another Canadian-based company from Quebec, Squish is a candy store that specializes in gummies, though they also do chocolates. Their claim to fame? The fact that they use natural ingredients, such as fruits, spices, and herbs to create their different gummy products. Like most gummy makers, Squish’s gummies vary in shape and size, from Halloween-themed eyeball gummies to the classic bear gummies. Unlike most gummy makers however, Squish also hosts flavors for the more adventurous. This is best illustrated by the fact that they have an entire line dedicated to spicy gummies.

Squish may carry spicy hot candies, but their COVID-19 performance has not been hot in the slightest. Similar to DavidsTea, Squish has been forced to close several of their stores due to a lack of customers and demand. In fact, the impact of COVID-19 on Squish has been even worse, with all but one store in Downtown Toronto being shut down. 

Gummy aficionados need not fear too much, though. Squish will continue to sell their candies online. Just don’t expect to find them in your nearby malls. 

The Gap 

You’ve probably heard of Gap – a San Francisco-based clothing store that was once a common sight. If you’re like me, you may remember having your parents dragging you through their stores to pick out clothing you didn’t want at the time. But did you know that The Gap operates a number of other stores? Stores like Banana Republic and Old Navy may not have Gap in their name, but they are definitely owned by The Gap. 

The Gap was already on a downward trend before the pandemic began, but COVID-19 turned that trend into a steep drop. Currently, there haven’t been too many closures. However, The Gap and their associated stores have failed to pay rent throughout the past few months of the pandemic. With one store already forcefully closed by landlords, expect more closures and disappearing stores to come. 

Like most of the stores on this list, The Gap will continue to be available for online purchases. Unfortunately, you will be unable to try on clothing over the internet. The technology just isn’t there yet — at least for now.

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