Some of you may have heard that Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier, is allowing shops to re-open, which really came upon us very quickly, caught us off guard a bit. I feel like it was just yesterday that they were ramping us up for curbside pickup and we were scrambling around printing off new signs, adding things back to our website for check out options. Jon’s been modelling bags in the front window for customers. That was already adjustment enough for us all.

I supposed no one will be shocked to know that we are not quite ready to re-open. The shop is, lightly put, a bit helter-skelter. We’ve been clearing off the tables for homeschooling, work, drawing. We’ve been raiding the front displays for inventory since it seemed purposeless to hold stock out front if we could sell it online and the end to this seemed nowhere in sight (actually, it was, evidently), and there are various cardboard shields and remote control cars and single shoes strewn about.

Another factor for our small shop is that even if we muscled through to get the shop ready, disheveled or otherwise, we very likely don’t have the resources to offer service at the increased levels needed to keep everyone safe and feeling comfortable at the current state of things in Toronto. We considered ourselves a fairly high touch customer service shop to begin with—testing out pen nib sizes, discussing inks, grabbing ink samples from the back. It will take more staff to serve far fewer customers if we’re going to be limiting (and monitoring) the number of people in the store at a time, cleaning and sanitizing between customers. Limiting how much customers can touch means we will need more Vanna Whites to demonstrate the full glory of G. Lalo and there are only so many in this world.

So while it seems like every week we are making new adjustments to the way we’re running things, internally behind the scenes or more broadly speaking, reacting to government restrictions or announcements, we are sort of holding steady for now. Some shops are already ready to open, and have been working hard on their strategies to keep everything clean, and other shops are holding off, whether it’s because they have clothes for people to try on and so it doesn’t make sense, or because they’re focusing on their curbside pickup and delivery, like us. We’re waiting and seeing how things are going to go, watching and learning from other shops and what they’re doing and what the government advises in terms of best practices for health and safety.

In any case, I will leave you with this blurry photo, taken by Caleb, representative of how I am feeling about life right now. I am everything in this photo: the umbrella (broken after a manic and enthusiastic journey 20 feet from the back door to the living room), the photo itself (out of focus, blocked by fingers, tilt-a-whirl), and the cat (bracing myself to be whacked in the face by an erratic child while just trying to take a nap). Also someone has stolen my phone.

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May 21, 2020 — wonderpens



Anonymous said:

Thank you so much for your support. We’ll hope to see you at the end of all this! :)


Anonymous said:

Thank so much for your support! This has certainly been an adjustment for us, doing curbside pickup and mailing out only. We are very much looking forward to when we can open our doors again, whenever that will be. Stay safe!


Anonymous said:

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! We’re all just trying the best we can, and hopefully we’re making do.

Chicken is classic in every way. What would we do without him?


Christos said:

Curbside and mail are fine. It costs six dollars for a return trip on the TTC (plus time), so shipping is a bargain. Keep your family and your staff safe. I look forward to returning to the shop once all of this has passed. Also, thanks for the excellent service during the lockdown. I can’t wait for my shipment to arrive.

Daniel Imbeault

Daniel Imbeault said:

Be safe, do what you thing is best for all of you. I far away from you anyway, so I’ll keep shopping from my computer.
I hope to see you someday in your shop!

Daniel I.


Jenny said:

Hold tight and do what YOU feel is right!
There’s no shame in continuing to serve us all through online orders and curbside pickup!
(Some of us are far from TO anyway…).
It appears you’re finding some kind of balance between shop and homeschool and preschool and pets and..and…and…so be kind to yourselves – take your time and re-open when YOU feel you are able.
You are wonderful, Wonderpens!! ?
(I think Chicken’s face expresses the whole thing perfectly…er, purrfectly!)


Anonymous said:

Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about your garden. What an unpleasant time, especially with the good weather outside, to be trapped inside with all the machinery outside. I hope all the work gets done quickly! And I hope you are keeping well :)


Bob said:

Thanks :)


Bob said:

Thanks for sharing these moments of absolute delight. Poor chicken….
I understand how do you feel. The requirement seem daunting and often impractical :(
We’re having our street redone here in Montreal. Being in lockdown, with heavy machinery, feels like being in a war zone. Yesterday the city engineer and the contractor were informing us, that they’re going to destroy partially our garden. All that was being said causally with no social distancing, no masks, protection whatsoever….. I wondered if these guys came from our planet…or were aliens masquerading as humans…


Sonnia said:

Thoroughly enjoy reading all of your blogs. Think you are wise to stay the course you are on.
Most important is for you all to stay safe and well.

Looking forward to when we are all on the other side of this and while things won’t be exactly the same (not always a bad thing) .. they will, hopefully, be better.

Loved getting my packages from you (like Christmas ?) .. Blessings to you all…

Leesa Pailthorpe

Leesa Pailthorpe said:

This article is great! If it help, you can teach your child to read, this video reveals how any child
aged 2-9 can quickly learn to read at home:

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