This time last year, Alberta was going into its first lockdown. That meant Sherry Gummow was closing the door on in-person shopping at her Ponoka store, Busted Ladies Lingerie, and trying her hand at virtual fittings.
“We were locked down for 54 days. I was by myself, working six days a week for less than 25 per cent of our regular income. But a year later I’m so thankful that we’re still open. Too may local, family-run businesses have closed!” she says.
A year of courage
Sherry brought her Busted Ladies Lingerie staff back fairly quickly, and together they picked a few words to inspire them through the year. ‘Courage’ came up again and again.
“We’ve all been living through a very weird year, affecting us in so many different ways. It takes courage to just get up in the morning and find the strength to take care of our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. It takes courage to be a business person — especially this year!” she says. “We’ve had a lot of new customers this year — that takes courage too, to walk into a store you’ve never tried.”
Busted has continued to support women’s shelters and other local non-profits, because Sherry knows many in Central Alberta have needed courage just to survive this past year.
“Many of our customers come from over three hours away, so ‘local’ for us isn’t just Ponoka. We’ve supported women’s causes of all sorts, including women’s shelters throughout Central Alberta, Dress for Success Central Alberta, Look Good Feel Better, and others. Most times when an organization asks for Silent Auction items we do our best to help, especially when it involves kids.”
Online events this spring
Sherry has adapted to many challenges over the past year, and learned new skills to stay open. She’s gone through more sanitizer than she cares to think about, and pulled out the measuring tape to calculate her store’s square footage.
“I now know we have a capacity of exactly 9.5 people!”
She’s also embraced live streaming, planning to host a series of events in March and April with health experts like a chiropractor, physiotherapist and pelvic health specialist. It’s just one of many ways Busted Ladies Lingerie supports women and local nonprofits.
“We’ve raised close to $15,000 for cancer-related causes in the last four years, and will be hosting our fifth annual Let’s Bust Cancer event later this year. Community support for this event has been exceptional.”
As for the store, online and in-person shopping continue, with a caring staff ready to help and listen with a kind ear; curb-side pick-up and shipping can also be arranged.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we have to do.”