Credit: Courtesy of Central City Brewers + Distillers

Central City Brewers + Distillers and the BC Lions have teamed up to donate a bottle of hand sanitizer to independent and assisted living communities for every sale of the brewers new Red Racer Cruiser eight-pack mixer

Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help others

Entering a new month and a new phase of COVID-19 precautions, B.C. businesses keep finding ways to support each another. The decline in new cases means that companies are starting to reopen their doors and reconnect with customers. Despite that positive change, many are working at reduced capacity and with limited staff. With that in mind, we mustn’t  forget to support local businesses and those who work tirelessly on the front lines. Know an organization that’s doing good in B.C.? Email me to have them included in a future roundup.

AG Hair

In response to the global pandemic, the haircare company swiftly pivoted to manufacturing hand sanitizer to help meet demand. Now AG has donated more than 1,200 bottles of its Hands-Free sanitizer to the BC Cancer Society, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and United Way of the Lower Mainland, as well as to local restaurants. The Health Canada–approved sanitizer—which combines corn-derived alcohol with vitamin E, glycerine and aloe vera—exceeds U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization guidelines. Made at AG’s 70,000-square-foot headquarters in Coquitlam, it’s available on the company website in gel and spray formats.

Central City Brewers + Distillers and BC Lions

Central City has joined forces with the Lions and the BC Seniors Living Association to make a difference during COVID-19. For every sale of its new Red Racer Cruiser eight-pack mixer, the Surrey-based beer and spirits maker will donate a 200-mL container of hand sanitizer to independent and assisted living communities throughout the province. Central City, which gave hand sanitizer to Surrey front-line workers, health-care professionals and first responders in April, is selling the Cruiser eight-pack at private liquor stores and the sanitizer (available in one- and three-litre sizes and in bulk) at all Central City Liquor Store locations and its brewery shop.

Narrow Group

Two of the Vancouver-based Narrow Group’s restaurants, the Rumpus Room and the Emerald Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge, are teaming up with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House to deliver cooked meals to families and seniors in need. After restaurants temporarily shut down due to COVID, the Emerald is donating unused frozen food to the cause. At the Rumpus Room, customers are invited to pay what they can for a meal that will go to the less fortunate.

Persephone Brewing Co.

As the pandemic threatened our supply chains, Persephone Brewing doubled down on food and farming as a focal point of its community activism. Based on a farm in Gibsons, on the Sunshine Coast, the brewery used its vehicle fleet to deliver groceries to those in isolation—free of charge, thanks to support from Sunshine Coast Credit Union (see below). Persephone also expanded its Community Supported Agriculture program and launched, in partnership with five other local farms, the Community Food BoxThrough the production of five benefit beers, all focused on food security, the company is donating thousands of dollars to nonprofits and charities, including local food banks, the One Straw Society and Sunshine Coast Community Services. You can find the brews at Persephone, which has opened its picnic area for some socially distant cheer, and throughout B.C.

Spring Activator

In light of COVID-19 and the economic downturn, the Vancouver-based incubator asked itself how business communities can get the support they need to set themselves up for long-term viability. To that end, Spring Activator launched a Business Resilience Program in collaboration with a growing list of partners in B.C. The program, available to participants for one year, is designed for donors, funders, incubators, accelerators and government institutions that want to help companies pull through. Through its online course, entrepreneurs can evaluate their current business, identify the new normal, create a survival plan and put it in motion. 

Sunshine Coast Credit Union

Eager to support its community’s rebound, Sunshine Coast Credit Union (SCCU) launched Reinvention Starts Here, a series of investments and collaborations that aim to help people and businesses not only survive but thrive through the pandemic. Investments in the business community include $100,000 in nonrepayable grants and funding of Spring Activator’s Business Resiliency Program (see above) for all Coast entrepreneurs. The credit union gave $15,000 to the Sechelt Hospital Foundation and Vancouver Coastal Health’s MedTalks, an interactive live-streamed educational series that featured local mental-health leaders sharing their expertise. It also teamed up with Persephone Brewing (see above) to match funds raised for Sunshine Coast Community Services  through Persephone’s Isolation Nation benefit pale ale and backed the society’s delivery of groceries to seniors and others. SCCU bought 80 cases of cookies from local Girl Guides and delivered them to health-care workers, and when community members launched a virtual food bank drive, it pledged $5,000.


This Campbell River–based organization seeks to establish the Vancouver Island city as a growth area for high-tech. During the pandemic, TechHatchery has rolled out a list of COVID-19 resources to help local businesses, on topics such as restart plans and programs, ensuring a healthy workplace, securing financial aid and working effectively from home. The group is also taking suggestions for subjects to cover in a blog post, workshop or seminar.