COVID-19 has created economic challenges across the globe. As businesses navigate through pandemic recovery, many are forced to pivot to a ‘new normal’.
We know that New Brunswickers and their businesses are resilient, innovative, and agile. Many of our companies have adapted to the new reality and are succeeding in a post-COVID-19 world.
Founder Sawyer Hannay says he realized not everyone has an opportunity to fully experience country living in New Brunswick. “We are a country lifestyle clothing brand, and we represent that country culture,” says Hannay. “With Liberty Village, we can offer travellers the real New Brunswick country lifestyle, with a cabin resort experience on the beautiful Richibucto River.”
ONB spoke to Mr. Hannay to learn how the company has transitioned to a post-COVID-19 world.
ONB: What’s changed for Country Liberty post-pandemic?
Hannay: It certainly disrupted our supply and distribution. At one point, all our retailers were closed. We shifted focus to our online sales, however, and have managed to keep going. We worked at creating better content and improving every other aspect of the business we still had full control over. Instead of obsessing over the numbers and beating ourselves up, we stayed positive, reminded ourselves that everyone was going through this together, and did that foundational work that may have been overlooked or left on the back burner.
Honestly, my day-to-day routine didn’t change that much. A lot of us in rural New Brunswick are social distancing anyway as part of our normal routine. During a workweek, I’m not actually in close contact with too many people as is. Same with our commutes, we’re not taking the subway or bus, so nothing changed on that end.
Did COVID-19 effect The Liberty Village launch in any way?
It was certainly interesting to launch a new business during a pandemic. Ultimately, this gave us more time to focus on Liberty Village. I came into 2020 fully prepared to balance both. But with major events like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, which we would normally be a part of, all cancelled, we had much more time to work on the Village launch. That’s a silver lining through all of this.
How do you see the business being affected long-term?
We go through recessions, depressions, wars, pandemics, etc. When you become an entrepreneur, you know the risks. I like to think I’ve been at least semi-prepared for an event of this magnitude. So, I think we can continue to survive and grow, even as potential downturns may still come. Measuring success exactly will be difficult, as too many unknowns still exist, but I think we will manage just fine.
Has there been any other silver linings for you since the pandemic?
With Liberty Village, we’ve been able to provide employment to a few new people to clean and keep up the cabins and give contract work to local tradesmen for the build.
Also, I’ve long been an advocate of seeing our beautiful province. This year at least, people that may have otherwise hopped a flight south or overseas are staying here and enjoying our beautiful scenery, and Liberty Village has been a great option for them. New Brunswickers are exploring our own backyards more and I think that’s a great thing. We have the Atlantic Bubble now but even before that took effect we were getting great support from New Brunswick-based customers.
We’re thrilled to share a great slice of rural New Brunswick life with our visitors. The Liberty Village is a great place to relax, kick your feet up, and disconnect.
Learn more and book a stay at the Liberty Village at TheLibertyVillage.ca.
Keep up-to-date on all the support ONB can offer as it relates to dealing with COVID-19.
All images via Country Liberty
Written by Jason Boies