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Artist and entrepreneur 'doing everything necessary for the safety' of clients and staff

Bragg Creek boutique owner and glasswork instructor says pandemic hit her seasonal business hard
Suncatchers Design Studio PHOTO: Supplied

SunCatchers Design Studio, The River Dragonfly, and The Bee (A Sweet Little Accommodation) in Bragg Creek, Alta., are run by Elizabeth Hertz, an artist and glasswork instructor.

“I started SunCatchers Design Studio, my stained glass studio, 41 years ago, doing custom work and classes in Calgary,” explains Hertz. The River Dragonfly, our boutique, was opened eight years ago. The Bee, which is a B&B inspired luxury room, is not quite open yet due to COVID-19. Hopefully it will open in mid-July or sooner.”

COVID-19 had a big impact on Hertz’s businesses. “We are very seasonal. We were just on the upswing of our business season and I had to cancel classes. I had some contracts cancel as well because of the all the uncertainly. The pandemic put a stop to my business because we had no idea when we would be able to reopen. Because of this, I did not order my spring stock.”

Being a business owner affected by the shutdown was difficult, but the issues were compounded with the personal toll too many Albertans also have had to face – worrying about a loved one in a care facility. Hertz’s 102-year-old mother, along with others in the long-term care facility, were completely isolated in their rooms. With the loss of human contact, dementia developed. With limited times to visit and needing to advocate for her mother’s care, Hertz’s reopening plans were interspersed with this pressing issue. However, Hertz persevered, balancing her professional and personal life, dividing her attention among her family, businesses, and clients.

“The boutique is now open with new items arriving weekly,” she says. “We allow three people in at a time and four if it is a family. A big part of sales at this time of year is garden decor items, which are outside. We ask everyone to sanitize their hands when they arrive and when they leave. We practice social distancing and are doing everything necessary for the safety of the clients and staff.”

During the shutdown, Hertz was able to rely on deferrals offered by banks and others. “The deferrals have been wonderful because we were very busy trying to reorganize. It was a strange time when we were closed. The uncertainly made it hard to have drive, because you just didn’t know what was going to happen.”

To learn more about the boutique where clothing, jewellery, antiques, handmade item and blown glass are available, or to be in the know about when classes restart and The Bee (A Sweet Little Accommodation) opens, go to the SunCatchers Design Studio website.

Nerissa McNaughton is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Great West Newspapers. This story was funded by the Facebook Journalism Project Supporting Local News Coverage of COVID-19 Program via the Local Media Foundation.

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