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Toronto business gets creative with pickup after it's forced to renovate front window

Pickup in Toronto during lockdown has been confusing and tough for small businesses and customers alike, but it got a whole lot rougher for one business when they were suddenly forced to renovate their entire front window.

Might & Main's landlord owns most of the cafe's side of Main St., around eight to 10 live-work storefronts, and has been upgrading all of them systematically for the last few years. There was a crack in the concrete in front of Might & Main's entrance, which should have been fixed in about a day with a jackhammer.

Co-owner Trish Feistner told blogTO the structural beam under the front of the store had "rotted into toothpicks."

The discovery was first made back in early November. According to Feistner, during normal times this type of work would have taken about a week, but there were major delays due to elements of the supply chain being interrupted resulting in glass and black aluminum shortages, and tragically, the entire window crew coming down with COVID.

Thankfully, everyone had a mild case, but while operations were shut down for several weeks Might & Main innovated by opening up a cute side window pickup operation. Feistner says they "would have gone under" if they temporarily closed, leaving them no option.

"The hoarding was an obstacle. We had to do social media about the fact we're still open because people were messaging us saying, 'just drove by, my heart broke because you're closed,'" says Feistner.

"As an owner you always see the things that are not quite right. It's just a funny little laneway with a couple chairs and a plant, but someone told me they just visited the window for the first time and it reminded them of a holiday in Spain. When you change things it's always a risk. This one was really delightfully received by our community."

She says some people are even enticed to visit the cafe for the first time after seeing the laneway cafe on social media, and that the community was "turning out in force despite the noise, dust and craziness." The work on the front was actually just finished, but Might & Main is keeping its quirky side pickup window.

"We decided to keep it that way, it's an unexpected bonus," says Feistner. "We're catching all dog walkers that couldn't come in, the neighbourhood is crazy about dogs, and people who didn't stop previously."

Feistner says though it was a "big inconvenience for everyone" she's "so glad we pulled this off" and is "incredibly grateful."

Lead photo by

Might & Main

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