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Sports apparel business adjusting to COVID-19

'It has been a challenge for sure'
20200413 King Sportswear North Bay
King Sportswear on Clarence Street in North Bay. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday

The months of April and May have been traditionally extremely busy for the staff at King Sportswear on Clarence Street in North Bay.

It is traditionally the time of year when minor sports organizations are putting in their uniform orders at King Sportswear for their respective summer teams.

Of course with soccer and baseball fields all closed due to the pandemic, all those orders are now at a standstill.

"We are not doing any sports stuff right now," said Pat Paquette, owner at King Sportswear.   

That's tough on those in the sports apparel business especially when 2020 was looking to be King Sportswear's best year since the company set foot in North Bay 11 years ago.  

"All of a sudden we are forced to close and have zero sales for probably one and a half months so it is going to be interesting how that will look at the end of the year and see if we can rebound from that," said Paquette.

"It has been a challenge for sure."

 However, Paquette is now trying to go after a different business niche without having to do a complete business overhaul.  He says the business is preparing for what he feels will be a huge need for graphics and signage inside local businesses once they are able to open their storefronts to the public.  

"What we are trying to do is adapt," said Paquette. 

"So, what we are pushing while following the government guidelines, have signage and stickers available to our customers.

"So we could help a small business like a hair salon when they are allowed to open up and we will have it here and hopefully, once this is said and done maybe it has created some new business connections and relationships hopefully we can move past the COVID-19 situation and have new customers."

Paquette has done some research on the topic and he is anticipating that visual aids will be a key requirement for stores when they re-open.   

"The most important thing the government wants to see is visual aids so anything that will try to guide you what social distancing is and what two metres looks like," he said.  

"Everything around your store and around your public places just to give people that visual aid that is what's important. So we are making sure we have all those products available for graphics, signs, acrylic. Anything that is related to visual aids we will have it ready."

On top of signage, Paquette says his suppliers are also offering up different forms of PPE which can be purchased online through his store which is offering curbside pickup.  

With the sports being in a time out, Paquette says they will also be ready for the day when sports apparel orders will clog up their email boxes and phone lines once again. 

"We hope so, that is the idea but right now we are just trying to change and adapt to stay afloat and when the time comes then we will be here and ready to rock," he said.  

And like many of us, he is hoping that is sooner than later.  

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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