During these uncertain and difficult times, businesses of all sorts are adjusting their service offerings to meet the need of a world in pandemic. Over the past month we’ve seen massive shifts to delivery, pickup, and takeout options from businesses that would otherwise be overjoyed to meet their customers face to face on a daily basis. What we’ve seen is a turn to community-minded and efficient services aimed at serving customers despite the restrictions in place for social distancing.
This is of course true for several Old East Village businesses who, from day one have found creative ways to serve customers and contribute to the strong community fabric which defines this neighbourhood. In this first part in the series “OEV Community Connections,” we spoke with Mary Beechie, the owner and operator of Mystic Bookshop at 612 Dundas.
Back in the fall, Mary began selling seed packages featuring full flower gardens, tomato gardens, veggie packs, and more. This venture took off during the holidays and once the call came for non-essential businesses to close their doors in March, Mary turned to the seeds, offering front door delivery and a new hobby opportunity for customers as Spring rolled in.
“I think of them as cheap and cheerful, happy packages. People have been very happy to receive them” Mary told us.
Cheap and cheerful, indeed! The seeds are offered at extremely affordable prices with veggie and flower varieties at $4 and veggie ‘super packs’ at $8.
“It has been so busy, I’ve delivered at least 50 seed packages so far!”
Mary, a long time Old East Villager, said that she has been making many of her deliveries in the neighbourhood, stopping off at customer mailboxes on her walk home from the shop. She accepts e-transfer but noted that many people have left cash in an envelope for her, at times with little gifts and thank you notes to accompany it. She said the delivery experience has been “very touching, we have such a strong community here and this has proven that.”
Now, as week four of business closures is coming to an end, Mary said she’s nearly completely sold out! Save flower seeds and some squash varieties, an immense amount of fun and, eventually, food has been delivered throughout OEV and London generally. But, this spawned an entirely new idea. Mary asks anyone who received delivery, to please save some seeds from each veggie or flower variety and return some to Mystic once harvested.
“This will create a self-sustaining venture” Mary said, a cyclical endeavour and eventually, a community-wide OEV Seed Bank, an expansion upon Mary’s ongoing Mystic Seed Bank that has been such a success.
Of the new, expanded Seed Bank idea, Mary said “it’s just such an OEV kind of thing,” and nobody could argue with that.
So if you’ve purchased seeds from Mary, or have others you’ve harvested (or plan to), Mary accepts seed donations at the shop and sells them for $1. A self-sustaining venture it certainly is and speaks to just one of the creative ways an OEV business has connected with the community for the benefit of us all.
To find out what seeds Mary still has available and to place an order, message Mystic Bookshop
through Facebook right here.
Please visit the OEV BIA Business Contact List for an updated look at what all neighbourhood businesses are doing to serve their customers and the community right now.