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by Heather Ibbetson, Intern, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce

The recent challenges presented by COVID-19 have forced many businesses and organizations to think outside the box when it comes to clients and customer service. Businesses and organizations have had to restructure how they operate – from transitioning to virtual platforms to offering a wider scope of services. As restrictions lessened, businesses were tasked with reopening with protocols to protect everyone’s safety. In our own community, several local organizations and businesses have worked to overcome these challenges while also maintaining a strong relationship with their clients.

The Alzheimer Society, which offers a variety of programs and services to individuals and families facing Alzheimer’s disease, had to find new ways to fundraise and reach out. “As a non-profit with our largest face-toface fundraiser for the year in May, we were forced to find new and innovative ways to both fundraise and to continue to offer offering programs to our 2600+ families we serve.” said Executive Director Chandra MacBean. The Alzheimer Society has offered individuals and families the option of connecting through phone, email, or videoconference. As COVID-19 restrictions lessened, the Alzheimer Society has been able to reopen to the public with protections in place. However, individuals and families are still able to choose an alternative to in-person meetings. Through offering a variety of ways to interact, the Alzheimer Society has maintained a client/ family- centric approach. And despite the unprecedented challenges, they have continued to serve New Brunswick and provide a supportive network to individuals and families.

Chartered Professional Accountants of New Brunswick (C.P.A.N.B.) has also worked hard to ensure that the needs of their clients were met despite the challenges from COVID-19. For C.P.A.N.B., the needs of their members are a top priority. In response, they improved and added online resources, and switched their CPD to an online directory. Each of these changes ensure that members can easily access the resources they need during these challenging times. “We continued B.A.U. and added extra services [such as a] resource page on our website,” said Danielle Pieroni, Manager of Special Projects & Business Development. C.P.A.N.B. also called each member to check in and see how they were coping with the challenges brought on by COVID-19. This added action demonstrates that despite the unusual circumstances, local organizations such as C.P.A.N.B., have worked to maintain a strong relationship with their members.

Tweedside Road, a home décor business, has been providing meaningful ways to keep minds healthy and occupied. Tapping into the creative side of our minds can be an excellent way to cope with stress. For the customers of Tweedside Road, creativity is expressed through painting, redesigning a space, or through revamping an outdated piece of furniture. In response, owner Krista Nestoruk also provided her customers with free colour guides. “Furniture painting kept so many occupied in a creative way.” said Krista. In addition to sharing positive posts and tutorials through social media, Krista has provided shopping alternatives for customers. “I continued to offer curb side pick up to my customers who were in need.” Krista continues to go above and beyond for her clients, offering the option of connecting with her over the app Facetime. Although these times have been challenging for many including Tweedside Road, businesses and organizations have continued to move forward.

Although recent times have proven to be challenging for many, businesses and organizations have continued to adapt and find new ways of serving customers and clients in the community. From moving onto virtual platforms, to finding new means of connecting with clients on a personal level, businesses and organizations have continued to withstand the challenging times brought on by COVID-19.

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