KENTVILLE, N.S. - An owner of an online shop based in Kentville says she noted a 20 per cent decrease in Canadian orders this November, and she believes it’s due to the rotating strikes impacting Canada Post.
Anita Bezanson runs Rhubarb Paper Co., an online Etsy shop, and sells items including greeting cards and stationary. The shop has seen a sharp drop in sales over the past month, despite its highest sales coming in around Christmas every year.
Bezanson says shipping delays caused by the strike are “almost certainly” what has resulted in the decline, which she says has significantly impacted her business.
“This has definitely taken a financial toll. This is my full-time job, and I’m the sole breadwinner right now – this business is how I support my family,” she says.
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Bezanson is not alone. Fellow Kentville Etsy seller Maria Smith, who runs the Reebee Design shop, also says sales have declined for her Christmas-specific shop, which sells holiday-themed ornaments and mugs.
She says the slowdown became a major problem not when the strike started, but after recent negotiations between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the federal government fell through.
“People are confused – they have a lot of questions that I just can’t answer.” – Maria Smith
“It’s like that day, everyone suddenly stopped wanting to buy items that would be shipped to them. People are confused – they have a lot of questions that I just can’t answer,” she says.
Smith says her sales are down by nearly 50 per cent, and she worries they’ll continue dropping as people continue shopping elsewhere at stores that don’t require deliveries.
She says she’s still had a few customers order, and most recently sent a package via Canada Post to New Brunswick. All she could tell her customer was the order should arrive before Christmas.
“I have to be honest with them, otherwise I’d have some extremely unhappy customers,” she says.
Bezanson says she, too, will be impacted this year as a consumer due to her shop’s dwindling order numbers. She says Christmas may look “very different” for her family this year.
“This is especially difficult, because of the time of year. It’s impacting my living expenses, my studio expenses, and also what I’ll be able to buy for my kids this Christmas,” she says.
Both shop owners say they’ve noticed zero change to orders bought and shipped to customers in the United States and are selling items to people offline - Bezanson from her Kentville studio, and Smith at craft fairs and other events.
Both also say they will consider different shipping methods, including avoiding Canada Post altogether when sending future orders.
“It’s definitely very, very frustrating and disheartening. I wish they’d figure this out as soon as possible,” says Bezanson.