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Small + Mighty: Climb Base5, nowhere to go but up

Jeffrey Halpenny, 680News

This feature is brought to you in partnership with Moneris.

Canadian small businesses have met with extraordinary adversity this past year, with many being forced to accept challenging new realities and devise even newer approaches to thrive within them. We sat down with small businesses from across Canada to see how they have adapted, what they have overcome, and why they are optimistic of the future. Every week we will be bringing you another one of their unique stories.

In this week’s edition, we sat down with Daniel Poggi, owner of Climb Base5 an indoor rock-climbing gym and community with locations in Coquitlam and Vancouver, British Columbia. Daniel provides some insight on the lengths that businesses must go to keep operating.

Given the struggles we’ve seen with business during COVID, why are you optimistic going forward?
“You know, as a small business owner – I don’t think we have much of a choice other than to be optimistic. Even at the beginning of the pandemic, there was no question that we were going to continue and exist for the long term, so having that optimistic mindset has really opened up opportunities for us.”

What can Small Businesses do to stay ahead of the ‘Covid struggle’?
“Being such a specialized company has actually opened up an opportunity in creating a brand that’s not just local, but can also serve a world-wide customer base. So right now, we are creating products and services that will enable us to have a certain amount of global representation. Building our brand, and being VERY clear with our brand messaging, and providing our services has allowed us to keep ahead.”

How has the transition from brick and mortar to online commerce effected your business?
“We’ve started using technologies in ways that we never had to before. Before, our business was a drop-in and now all of the scheduling, questions, and customer service happens online. We’re also pivoting with new product offers to ramp up our ecommerce efforts. We’ve been using Moneris and they’ve made it incredibly simple, and have been extremely helpful in assisting us with our move to online. They’ve been phenomenal.”

What is a lesson that you’ve learned along the way?
“Number 1 – and I can’t stress this enough – plan for the best and plan for the worst. It’s good to have a plan for multiple different scenarios, but always understand that none of them may end up working out. You will always have to pivot and adapt, and you have to be open and flexible, and continually have an open mind.”

A year from now, where do you see your business?
“That is such a great question. I believe we are going to be a player in terms of offering products and services that climbers are using, across North America. Given our proximity to the mountains, we are looking at becoming a leader in that product space.”

What lessons have you learned from this constant business shift?
“Honestly, it’s made us realize how quickly one can become complacent. It’s been a great reminder and a kick in the pants every morning that you wake up, you know – not to become complacent. If anything, it’s taught us that we need to focus on the future constantly and be ready. Don’t focus on only one thing, you need to expand your periphery if you want to stay above water.”

‘Small + Mighty: A weekly look at how Canadian small businesses are adapting’.

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