Canadian program helps business owners navigate recovery from pandemic

May 13 2021, 9:00 am

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Canadian business owners have been faced with unprecedented challenges and obstacles.

Businesses are having to adapt and react more quickly than ever as regulations continue to shift, pivoting their operations to keep things afloat and meet customer needs as they go. Navigating these trials and tribulations is no easy feat and today’s entrepreneurs and small business owners need all the help they can get.

In light of this ever-changing landscape, Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs have been supported by the Staples Preferred Membership Program, which offers them everyday perks and tailored solutions that can give them a leg up.

The unique membership program is geared towards small- to medium-sized businesses and offers exclusive pricing (in-store and online) and benefits with no annual fee. Preferred benefits, like access to 10% off print and marketing services through Staples Solutionshop or the ability to save money on workplace essentials — including PPE, cleaning supplies, paper, ink, and toner — provide businesses with a much-needed advantage.

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“We would never have been able to scale up as much as we have without being able to cut our costs because of the program. We can’t wait to find even more ways to improve our efficiency with help on the shipping and printing side of things,” says Kendal Rooney, mom of the young local business owner of Jake’s Crates.

The monthly subscription box service is run by Jake Rooney, an eight-year-old living in Pembroke, Ontario. Each month, they mail out or hand-deliver affordable boxes containing books, stickers, crafts, colouring sheets, toys, and more to youth under 18 years old.

The business was launched last summer at the height of the pandemic when most were home-stricken. It all started with the simple premise of wanting to spread a little joy — especially to children. After finding that many existing services were unaffordable, the mother-son duo “decided to create a business that met that need.”

Today, after receiving national acclaim, Jake’s Crates ships across Canada. “Everything is hand-picked for the child based on their age, reading level, and interests. It also includes a freebie or coupon from a local business,” says Rooney.

When it comes to becoming a member, one of the biggest pulls for prospective businesses is access to a dedicated Account Manager who acts as a point of contact for trusted advice, solutions, and problem-solving. Through the Preferred Membership, members also gain access to exclusive marketing offers and an industry-leading online ordering dashboard.

“We love having an Account Manager to help walk us through various stages of the business and offer suggestions of other ways the program could help us,” Rooney tells us. “We went from just looking at the program to cut costs, to looking at getting custom-printed boxes to help reduce prep time and scale-up.”

Acting as a dynamic partner to small business owners, the membership is designed to cater to the individual needs of each enterprise while helping them save on time and money. A Select Membership option is available for a $99 annual fee, but most are able to access business essentials via the standard membership.

While Rooney is relieved to have not been personally impacted by the pandemic, the time restraints of starting a new business — from decorating, preparing, and packing each box — have been the biggest challenge as of yet.

“Staples Preferred felt like the perfect way to source materials for the contents of the boxes as well as the boxes themselves. We had been using other providers and Staples was able to cut our costs way down so we could put more into the boxes for our customers to enjoy,” says Rooney.

Looking forward, Jake’s objective is to have millions of customers around the world, but as his mother points out, “to have a business that’s thriving within Canada, able to sustain operations while growing nationally and really help elevate other small businesses is a more realistic goal.”

The Staples Preferred Program is dedicated to supporting local business needs with its roster of customized services, from furniture to tech, and other essentials. Before you checkout, be sure to add a free gift to your basket with every purchase (yep, that’s a perk too).

To explore all the benefits your business can receive as a Preferred Member, you can visit staples.ca/preferred.

This content was created by Hive Labs in partnership with a sponsor
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