18 B.C. businesses and others doing good during COVID-19: Pivot support, gin for a good cause and much more

Credit: Courtesy of BCIT

BCIT grads Keisha Go and Jamie Haakons have been using their 3D printers to make thousands of free face shields and ear savers for health-care workers

Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help their community

The first week of May has come and gone, bringing us closer to the potential reduction of social distancing measures. As businesses weigh the decision to reopen, we can start to look for ways to recover from the destruction caused by COVID-19.

No matter what lies ahead, let’s keep supporting each other. Whether it’s helping the less fortunate or giving a gift of kindness to a health-care professional, the many businesses and other organizations featured in this weekly column have shown how much they care about their community.

On that note, Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley and Coun. Joe Keithley have filmed their performance of a new song written by Keithley, a punk rock legend. “We’re All in This Together” is a rallying cry to help keep people’s spirits up and to thank our front-line workers. You can watch the extended version here.


Want to thank a hero in your life? To help spread kindness and awareness during COVID-19, Vancouver-based menswear brand Ædelhard has launched a new campaign. The company invites you to post a story about your hero with the hashtag #EverydayHeroes and tag @aedelhard on Instagram or Twitter. If Ædelhard reposts your message, the person you’ve recognized will receive a $350 shirt-and-pant bundle for the price of shipping and processing, while supplies last. In return for showing your gratitude, you’ll receive a 40-percent-off code.


It’s been a busy time for BCIT, which has three stories to share with BCBusiness readers. First, mechanical engineering alumnus Jamie Haakons and interior design grad Keisha Go are giving back by using their eight 3D printers to produce thousands of free face shields and ear savers for health-care workers. So far, Haakons and Go have delivered 6,500 units. Second, BCIT has used its MediaWorks room, a self-service production facility before COVID-19, to print more than 2,100 ear savers. And third, the institution has created FEPA (Focused Education Preparation Advancing Frontline Registered Nurses), an online, self-directed, fast-track course to help health-care workers acquire the knowledge needed to support coronavirus patients. Since the free course launched, some 8,000 health-care workers in Canada and the U.S. have registered, and more than 5,000 have completed it.

Cause We Care Foundation and Blue Ruby Jewellery

Cause We Care supports single mothers across Metro Vancouver through a variety of efforts, including housing, after-school programs, back-to-work job training, daycare, emergency funding and essential supplies. In response to COVID-19, the foundation has teamed up with Blue Ruby Jewellery for the limited-edition release of locally handcrafted bracelets featuring messages of love. All proceeds will go to Cause We Care’s current fundraising initiative: delivering urgently needed high-quality food care packages to families in need during the pandemic, in partnership with local supplier Legends Haul. Blue Ruby, a longstanding partner and supporter of Cause We Care, has helped it raise more than $700,000 over the years with special collaboration designs.

Good Drink Beverage Co.

Since 2016, in partnership with Canadian charity ACTS for Water, Good Drink has been providing clean water for every beverage sold. The Fort Langley–based company’s Choose to Give initiative has funded five tap stands bringing water to more than 20,000 people in rural Uganda. Since the start of COVID-19 in the East African nation, which has just 40 ICU beds, Good Drink has helped ACTS for Water to distribute soap, set up hand-washing stations and teach social distancing via radio. It plans to continue this support after the crisis has passed, when the need for clean water will grow even more.

Grand Uproar

Through its Save the Small initiative, the Vancouver digital content agency is showcasing small businesses in three categories: Sweat, Eat and Play. Along with the site, Grand Uproar is creating short promo videos for local small businesses (Chloë Angus Design, Pacific Angler and Rackets & Runners are just a few) to help them survive this difficult year.

Indigenous Tourism BC

As COVID-19 knocks the wind out of the travel industry, B.C. tourism businesses are suffering unprecedented revenue losses. To help Indigenous tourism operators keep their doors open and move toward a long-term recovery plan, non-profit Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) has released $300,000 in aid through its Emergency Relief Fund. So far, after receiving applications from every tourism region in the province, ITBC has funded 71 businesses.

JAK’s Beer Wine Spirits

Isle of Harris Gin has arrived in B.C. for the first time, at all JAK’s locations. The gin, which hails from a remote set of islands off Scotland’s west coast, features sugar kelp as its star ingredient. Not only will picking up this tasty drink make social isolation happy hours a little happier, but you’ll support a worthy local cause. Thanks to a collaboration between JAK’s and Drinkwell Imports, $10 from every bottle purchased will go to the BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) to help support laid-off servers and bartenders. JAK’s has also worked with Vancouver bartender Jay Jones to create a quarantine cocktail, aptly named Isolation of Harris, showcasing the gin. To kick off this campaign, Jones has made a donation to the BCHF.

London Drugs

To support small businesses throughout Western Canada that have had to close up shop due to COVID-19, the Richmond-based retail chain is now offering them shelf space in select stores. Companies are welcome to apply for inclusion in this dedicated area, dubbed Local Central. For news on when local products will hit shelves, keep an eye out on London Drugs’ social media channels, where you’re welcome to tag businesses that you think would benefit.

Marwick Marketing

The Squamish-based digital marketing outfit is offering free “discovery and pivot” sessions to educate business owners about how they can adapt and even thrive in the new COVID-19 reality. The sessions include a deep dive into a company’s operations, analysis of its competitors, identification of revenue-boosting opportunities and custom strategies to make pivoting a reality. For Marwick Marketing, it’s a way to help ensure that the Canadian economy—and specifically small- and medium-sized businesses—can withstand the setbacks of the pandemic and succeed over the long term. To learn more about the complimentary sessions, contact Marwick.

Merchant Growth

To support Canadian businesses that are pivoting to join the fight against COVID-19, the Vancouver-based fintech lender has begun offering 24-hour funding at a reduced interest rate. Especially for manufacturers right now, one of the big challenges of making such a switch is securing the capital to keep going until your first round of invoices are paid or government funding comes through. With making a pivot the only way for many companies to survive the crisis, Merchant Growth aims to help brands stay afloat.

Nude Beverages

As of May 1, the sugar-free vodka soda brand is donating a portion of sales from its next quarter—up to $50,000—to pandemic relief. Through the Nude COVID-19 Relief Fund, which spans health care, small business and animal welfare, the Vancouver-headquartered company will support the Canadian Red Cross, Canada Helps, the Alberta SPCA and localized efforts. Nude will also donate hand sanitizer to essential workers.

Renew Retreats

The hiking retreat and education business is hosting a Hike-at-Home Online Challenge until May 17. Vancouver-based Renew has chosen five popular local peaks, including Black Tusk and St. Mark’s Summit, converting elevation gain to step-ups. During the challenge, experts are sharing hiking tips and tricks via Zoom—up next is national women’s soccer team member and two-time Olympic bronze medallist and Diana Matheson, who will speak about mental resilience and staying motivated. A portion of every $20 registration fee goes to Food Banks Canada. Join the wait list here.

Share the Goods

COVID-19 has left many Canadians struggling to afford basic groceries. Launched in March by Vancouverites Josiane Meadows and Elyse Sanders, Share the Goods is a nationwide online platform that matches people who need food with those who are willing to help. So far, thousands of Canadians have been connected, resulting in the transfer of more than $100,000 worth of groceries. Share the Goods has grown its volunteer-based team, but it still needs people in Vancouver. Find out how you can help here.

Silver Chef

Based in Vancouver, the hospitality equipment financing company has teamed up with InKind for a national effort that aims to keep restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs, bars and pubs resilient to the financial challenges of COVID-19. The #ServingHospitality initiative lets customers buy e-gift cards from the business of their choice, to be redeemed once it reopens. All proceeds go directly to the businesses, and customers can redeem their e-gift cards through the InKind app, which also gives them the option to share the card with friends and family. The result: an immediate cash injection for businesses at a time when they need it most.

Simply Beautiful

Simply Beautiful is a subscription box service offered by Canada Wide Media, the publisher of BCBusiness. In April, to give medical professionals a much-needed and well-deserved dose of self-care, the brand delivered 50 of its limited-edition Health Care Packages to Langley Memorial Hospital. Now Simply Beautiful has launched Treat Yourself and Treat a Health-Care Hero, which donates a Health Care box to a B.C. hospital worker for each one purchased. The products in the boxes include an eyeshadow stick from Evalina Beauty, Canada Wide’s paraben- and cruelty-free makeup line.

Sleep Country Canada and Mamas for Mamas

Bedding retailer Sleep Country’s giving program has partnered with Kelowna-based national charity Mamas for Mamas to help marginalized communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Together they have provided $30,000 worth of mattresses, pillows and linens to mothers and families in need. The two organizations are supporting the Vancouver community by giving brand-new mattresses to families, helping new mothers who are healing create independent living spaces, and equipping transition houses for women who are fleeing domestic violence at a time of increased demand for these services.