Staying the course at Bridge Interiors
By Erin Knutson
The family-owned business that provides furniture, appliances and a how-to source for the home has adapted to manifest changes, succeeding in the ever-evolving pandemic.
“With so much going on in our world, and with information changing hourly, we want to ensure the health and safety of our staff and customers,” said owner Ken Bridge.
The Cranbrook-based business has been staying up-to-date with COVID-19 protocol and a technological strategy to keep business going strong despite a few bumps along the way.
A virtual tour shopping experience has offered East Kootenay clients a social-distancing option to regular store visits. Stepping-up tech support to accommodate their customer base has given Bridge Interiors a leg-up during a trying time.
People can view items from the comfort of their home and order online, while Ken and his slowly increasing staff take photographs of items for customers.
Bridge was initially running the store by appointment only and with a skeleton crew after laying off the majority of his staff. After a few weeks of uncertainty, he was able to keep things moving by Facebooking, texting, email, call forwarding, and head-set use.
The store re-opened on May 19.
“We have been safe on our end – wiping down machines, counters, the door, and people have been good to us. There have been no cancelled orders,” Bridge said.
The phones continue to ring, and customer support has been phenomenal at Bridge Interiors. People continue to be understanding of glitches and hiccups resulting from the arrival of COVID-19.
Bridge emphasized that common sense in the face of this weird event was essential to moving forward.
In 1998 when Ken and his wife Karin Bridge opened their doors – they could not have imagined or believed something like COVID-19 would happen.
“I’ve seen a lot of things over the years, but this is the strangest event I have seen in the 21 years I’ve been in business,” said Bridge.
The owner has maintained a sense of humour and confidence through it all while committing to the same exceptional service he has always provided.
“I’m an old fart, and I’m not looking to make a million dollars at this point,” Bridge joked about reality and staying practical as a business owner in an extraordinary time.
Bridge continues to thank his customers and staff who have extended themselves to organize the floor-space and accommodate deliveries while keeping stock of inventory and maintaining a positive attitude.
“You learn to work with it and to stay the course. It’s very different times, very trying times.”
Overall, Bridge maintained that people are busy and that the community is working together as a whole.
“We have to get to the other side to a new routine and roll with the punches while taking a different approach with the internet and with computers,” he said.
Lead image: Ken Bridge at work in Bridge Interiors. Bridge Interiors photo