Eric Bennett on lessons from the pandemic
From the HGO Merchandiser
BRIGHTON, Ontario – COVID-19 has been a life altering event. This is now old news but almost everyone agrees it has contained a multitude of teachable moments. So, HGO approached eight influential independent furniture, mattress and appliance retailers and asked them to share what they’ve learned. They all seem to agree that either despite or because of it, this tragedy has made better human beings and better businesspeople.
Each week for the next eight, one of these responses will be highlighted here. To read the entire report, check out the Spring 2021 edition of the HGO Merchandiser by clicking here.
I want to thank each of these energetic and thoughtful industry leaders for taking the time to consider the questions and respond fully. Aside from some minor editing to ensure clarity, their answers are presented as submitted.
Eric Bennett, President/Owner
Bennett’s Furniture & Mattresses, Peterborough, Ontario
What have you learned from the pandemic, both as a businessperson and as a human being?
We need to increase investments in having vaccines ready for the next pandemic. I read it is now possible to pre-prepare for almost any pandemic with ready-to-go vaccines. Just more money for research and it will happen. Friction must end between competing interests including the advice of scientists and the business community. The federal government should form a committee to prepare for the next pandemic as soon as this one is over. Explain to the press and public that while “science is super important but ultimately politicians have to make the final decisions.”
How has it changed your business, your approach to business and how you see its future?
The biggest change has been the move towards more digital and having your store featured online has become more urgent. Time will tell how much this pandemic changes our society. If a lot more people work from home, that will be good for smaller cities in Canada as people will leave the large urban cities. The other thing is the pandemic certainly proves home furnishings industry is in competition with non-furniture businesses – look at how busy we are when people cannot spend on travel and restaurants.