By Solomon McGarrell
No doubt, the global pandemic which is as a result of the spread of COVID-19, has crippled many businesses, particularly small businesses. One proprietor of a small business locate in Kwakwani, Shonica Sears, has worked extremely hard, to keep her fish shop afloat, even as the COVID-19 waves was hitting her business really hard. “COVID has brought on many challenges but it came as a blessing in disguise,” the young business woman said.
With zero COVID-19 related cases in Kwakwani, when the 6 pm – 6 am curfew was imposed, 95 per cent of the community’s population abided by the lockdown, and the streets were partially empty. This forced Sears, out of operation at her regular business zone; which was located in the heart of the community, where all major recreational and sporting activity occurred.
Sears was left with no choice, but to shut shop and operate from the confines of her home. She said sales dwindled, and what she made was less than half she made during regular operations.
“Six ‘O’clock I used to prepare to go out, so when COVID hit, I was left with no alternative than to work from home during the day on calls. It was hard since people weren’t familiar that I was working from home but it has opened doors to a brighter future,” Sears told INFO 10.
” Working from home has proven to be advantageous, people would usually call two or three in the morning and I would come out and prepare their order.”
COVID-19 has taken a toll on lives across Region 10, which ranges from economic relapse to unemployment, however, all lights have not been dimmed for Shonica’s fish shop. While COVID has thrown her out of the spotlight and into the confines of her home, she took the negative impact and envisioned a brighter future for her business. “COVID has brought many challenges but it has come as a blessing in disguise since I was able to get my own place, if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have never thought of getting my own place,” Shonica said.
How it all begun
After being ill for some time, Sears was unable to gain employment and as such, she began rearing chicken (meat birds) and would meet the demands of residents, until she was sadly informed by her doctor that the dust and ammonia from the chicken pen can further endanger her health.
Life began to seem hopeless for her, more so she had the responsibility to take care of a teenage daughter.
At that moment when she thought all hope was lost, her sister who was at the time renting a shop in the heart of the community, encouraged her to occupy a spot and let her hands feed herself and her daughter. “When I started, was August 2019, school clothes to buy and many other expenses, my sister who was at the time renting a shop, encouraged me to come and occupy a space and sell fish/chicken and chips since my hands are gifted,” Sears said.
This is not just a business, it’s beyond the mere thought of making money only, her passion lies within, to face the heat of the kitchen no matter the season. “Cooking is a hobby for me, I love cooking. When persons are stressed, they will sing, dance, read or play a game but I would usually cook to ease my stress.”
Best fish and chips
When this publication asked Sears if she thinks her meals stand out from the other food shops in the community, she said ” I wouldn’t boast and say mine is the best but I put my best foot forward in getting the right taste, which will generate returning customers”.
Sears extended heartfelt gratitude to her family and supporters who have played a vital role in her business’ continued existence. “Many times, when I would think of giving up, my two sisters and mother would keep encouraging me to keep pressing on ” Sears revealed.
Apart from fish/chicken and chips, Sears also caters for small and
large events. Persons interested in grabbing a bite can call 683-533