Coping with COVID-19: Marquis Wine Cellars

Marquis Wine Cellars has kept its Davie Street store open but its delivery orders have soared

John Clerides has owned Marquis Wine Cellars since he opened it in 1986 | BIV files

Company: Marquis Wine Cellars, Vancouver;  Employees: 15.

Challenge: Owner John Clerides said the biggest challenge in keeping his store open is how to ensure the safety of his staff and customers. Bricks and mortar retail, however, is a high-touch business where store clerks must touch the bottles of wine in order to scan them.

Response: Clerides said that he quickly wrote a policy guide for all staff with instructions around washing hands frequently, not touching their faces and other tips that the provincial health officer has advised. He urged staff to try to not touch areas of the store as much as they can, and to thoroughly wipe down the touch surfaces inside the store at least three times per day. He did not have an answer for how to scan in the wine without touching the bottles but one very successful move so far has been to encourage customer to get wine deliveries. Business in the store has declined somewhat, he said, but online delivery sales that are done via a courier company are "significantly up.

Quote: "It's learn as you go, but we're learning fast, and implementing things quickly. You can't wait to see what happens you have to take the right moves. We also have brief five or 10-minute meetings every day just to say, 'Hey, what's going on? Is everyone OK?'"