COVID Teachings: Shopping on Denman

COVID Teachings: Shopping on Denman

Remember, back in the early days of COVID, when we all hunkered down on Denman? We didn’t know how that would work. Many of us were afraid we’d run out of essential items—toilet paper, flour, yeast, and so much more.

But we were ok. We learned that our Island can meet most of our core needs, and then some.

We learned new ways of doing things: We placed orders by phone or email at the General Store. We lined up outside the Hardware Store. We discovered the joys of bulk buying at the Earth Club Factory. Some of us volunteered to deliver purchases to households in need.

We welcomed the appearance of local produce grown by our hard-working farmers. We learned we can have amazing gardens without stepping foot in a Vancouver Island nursery.

We did this to stop the spread of COVID. And we have been successful, so far. But we were actually doing much more: we were supporting our local economy during a hugely challenging time. And this too is how we keep the island safe.

COVID-fighting benefits of supporting local businesses 

  • Denmanites who shop locally don’t have to travel off-island as often. This minimizes contacts and possible transmission from Vancouver Island;
  • The island retains jobs and income. This prevents poverty, which is a risk factor for COVID and so many other mental and physical health challenges;
  • We increase connection and social contact between islanders, strengthening our social fabric and our mental health;
  • We support the long-term viability of our local economy, which ensures Island shops and services will be here to serve us if there are further waves of COVID.

Shopping locally also cuts down our greenhouse gas emissions, is less stressful, and can save money, if you factor in travel costs and the various unplanned purchases we tend to make in town.

Denman Craft Shop

Shopping locally as a new habit

Sure, now that BC is in phase three, it feels reasonably safe to head to town for shopping, and most of us will want to do that sometimes. But we have the opportunity to let Corona nudge us into new habits—ones that are good for us, for our community, for our environment, and for our future.

We have more options now that we did back in early-COVID times: we have the Craft Store, Abraxas PLUS a cafe, the re-opened Guest House Cafe, the Farmers Market, Ima’s Bakery, and various farm stands.

Also, don’t forget local services. Mobile hair-cutting is back in service. Massage, chiropractic and other health services are available. All of it has been adapted for COVID.

Six ways to do more local shopping

  1. Dedicate the summer to “shop Denman.” There is so much amazing fresh food available, and you can get so many other supplies as well.
  2. Planning a town trip? Look through your shopping list and tick off all the things you know you can get locally, then do an on-island shop the day before you go to “the other side.” Your town day will be soooo much easier.
  3. Also, fill up your vehicle on-island before your head off island. Why not?
  4. Choose one day per week to do a phone or on-line order to the General Store.
  5. Buy all gifts on island for a year (or longer). Your offering will be extra-meaningful.
  6. Planning a socially-distanced, outdoor gathering? Choose “local” as your theme, with all-local food and wine, local flowers, locally-made table linens and other decorative elements, and local music playing in the background.

This article is part of a DenmanWORKS initiative to support a resilient local economy. Click below to read the stories behind Denman businesses and to learn more about local shopping.

Written by Laura Busheikin
Published in The Islands Grapevine, August 6, 2020


Read more Stories from Denman Island:

Denman Hardware supports islanders’ self-sufficiency

Lilac Sun Pottery: Gifts Inspired by nature

Earth Club Factory Bistro adapts with new protocols and new ideas

Adapatability, Support Help Denman Island’s Abraxas Books, Gifts & Coffee Survive the Pandemic

Take a Garden Tour for Inspiration


For more about Denman Island, BC, go to