At-home businesses expanding to storefronts following COVID-19 - CTV News Regina

Summary

While the pandemic decimated a number of industries over the last two years, one niche market seems to have come out on top: local at-home businesses.

Kyle Moffatt owns Sticks and Doodles with his wife Danelle.

While the pandemic decimated a number of industries over the last two years, one niche market seems to have come out on top: local at-home businesses.

Kyle Moffatt owns Sticks and Doodles with his wife Danelle.

The wood sign manufacturing started seven years ago when Danelle began crafting while on maternity leave. Eventually, Moffatt wanted to join.

“We bought a scroll saw and we put it in our condo bathroom,” he said.

“We duct taped all the vents and we made wood signs in our condo bathroom.”

The “just-for-fun” hobby grew from the bathroom to the garage and eventually to the master bedroom. In June, the couple moved operations to their new store on Henderson Drive.

“Making the jump from being in a basement in our home to doing this was nerve-wracking, but it was also really exciting,” he said.

Moffatt said having a store not only gives them the opportunity to expand staff, customers and projects, but it also gives the couple, and their three kids, a good work-life balance.

“The separation has been wonderful. We have our kids, our basement and our life at home, and then we have our business here,” he said.

Sticks and Doodles began as an at home project seven years ago. Now its made the jump to a full fledged storefront. (Allison Bamford/CTV News)

Moffatt, who has filled orders for people as far away as Germany and New Zealand, credits word of mouth and social media for the business’ success. Most recently, however, the push to shop local during the pandemic “exploded” sales for many basement shops, he said.

“That whole ‘made in Regina’ mentality has allowed this homemaker industry—this handmade and local food, photography and products—to really thrive,” Moffat said.

The trend emerging from the pandemic has allowed other business owners like Tyler Polowy and Steven Derkson to grow their passions.

The owners of Rooted Living Designs love to garden. Polowy said their side hobby turned into a side hustle in 2019 when Derkson decided to start YQR Plant Assistance, which offered succulent arrangements and workshops out of their home.

Six months later, they moved into a shop on Broad Street and have now grown into a bigger space on Dewdney Avenue.

“(Business) honestly blossomed throughout COVID,” Polowy said.

“Plants were definitely the number one thing when the pandemic hit, so we had a lot of people come to us and say, ‘What can you offer that we can do at home with our kids?’”

Polowy said their key to growth was word of mouth, keeping up with trends and staying social media savvy.

The owners recently incorporated Rooted Living Designs, and Polowy said they hope to expand to other cities in the next five years.

“I’m initially from Winnipeg so opening up a store in my hometown would be awesome,” he said.

Tyler Polowy and Steven Derkson, owners of Rooted Living Designs, moved into their Dewdney Avenue location in April 2022. (Allison Bamford/CTV News)

BUSINESS SUPPORTING BUSINESS

Regina’s small local homemaker industry is a tight-knit group, according to Polowy.

He said his store carries products from three or four other local businesses on consignment to help market other businesses that may not have a storefront. It is the same mentality that led Polowy and Derkson to offer part of their space to 21 Treats, a local bakery that currently operates out of a house.

Miranda and Kendal Klinger are the mother-daughter duo behind 21 Treats.

They started baking sugar cookies out of their home three and a half years ago.

It started as a way to help Kendal, who has Down Syndrome, gain valuable work experience to help her get a job later in life.

“Baking was kind of a natural fit. We are in the kitchen at home all the time,” Miranda said, adding the bakery’s name is a nod to Kendal’s extra 21st chromosome.

“People became interested and word mouth spread and suddenly we were having order after order after order coming in.”

Kendal, 12, and Miranda Klinger are expanding their bakery, 21 Treats, into a shop on Dewdney Avenue later this year. (Allison Bamford/CTV News)

Now, the Klingers are filling orders for more than 1000 cookies each week.

Miranda said in the next month they will start renovations in the shared space on Dewdney Avenue with plans to open up the bakery in the late fall.

“That’s always been the dream is that we can have a space that’s safe and inclusive that we can hire others like Kendal, other people who experience disability,” Miranda said.

“Right now, our bread and butter is 100 per cent sugar cookies. But once we are in this space, we are looking so forward to being able to flex some of our muscles with some other baking.”

Miranda agreed the “shop local” mentality helped 21 Treats thrive during the pandemic, adding the support of a strong business community has helped them achieve their goal of opening a storefront.

She hopes 21 Treats can now be a leader to help forge a path for others looking to build businesses and hire inclusively.

At-home businesses expanding to storefronts following COVID-19 - CTV News Regina
Photo Credit: CTV News Regina

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