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Small + Mighty: Bounty Hunter Toys, surviving the pandemic in near mint condition

Jeffrey Halpenny, 680News

Last Updated Mar 24, 2021 at 10:34 am EDT

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.

For this week’s edition, we sat down with Michael Heddle, owner of Bounty Hunter Toys on Ottawa street North in Hamilton, Ontario. Bounty Hunter specializes in stocking and selling all your favourite toys from the last 40 years, with a big focus on childhood faves from the 80’s. Below Michael takes us through what’s been quite a year for his small business.

What are some of the issues you’ve been able to overcome during Covid?
“Well, the main issue for sure was the lockdown. That certainly didn’t help us at all. So, we really had to focus on pivoting, because our store is where we see a lot of our business. People love coming in and taking a look at all of our cool stuff, so not being able to do that did hurt us.”

What are some the things a small business can do to stay ahead?
“You need to adapt, and we adapted. We started using social media a heck of a lot more, we started doing local deliveries around the Hamilton area, and we re-opened our website which had been shutdown after the first re-opening. I mean, we’ve even gone ahead and signed up for things like Tik-Tok and Snapchat just so we can keep our name out there! Anything to stay relevant.”

How are small businesses in your neighbourhood helping each other out?
“We’re in a unique spot here in Hamilton as I’m part of a BIA. So, I’m lucky in that respect as the BIA actively retweeting, reposting, and promoting all of the businesses in our BIA. It’s been an absolute win-win being part of it. With that being said, the amount of support from within our community has been great. We’ve only seen one business close as a result of Covid, which is unfortunate – but also encouraging.”

Have you had to pivot to e-commerce?
“We have, and it’s working out great! Obviously there was a big shift to online sales and we’ve seen a big uptick in that respect. It helps too that we’re using the Moneris Gateway service as it’s been fantastic – both online and instore. We’ve had ZERO issues with them, and I cannot say that about any other services that we have used in the past.”

A year from now, where do you see your business?
“Doing the same thing here, and really working on improving our website. Hoping to expand as we grow as well. Ideally, the virus is gone an life will return to normal. That’s all we can really hope for!”

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

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