by Pierre Gallant, Owner, HMS Office Supplies
HMS Office Supplies has been a full-service office supplier in downtown Summerside since 1982.
I started working at the store full time at the end of 2002 and worked every job here, with the exception of Bookkeeper. I loved dealing with people and working at the business. In 2013, my father, Henri Gallant, almost sold the business, but the deal fell through at the last minute. We immediately began coming up with a plan for me to take over. We signed the deal in April of 2018 and the ride began.
While businesses were closing temporarily due to COVID-19, we opted to stay open, since we supplied clients such as city departments, hospitals, and other essential services. On April 6, two staff members were told they would be laid off at the end of the week. But after a slow week and getting notice on April 9 that we were not receiving any furniture due to staff shortages at the manufacturer, all staff received layoff notices.
I came in alone on April 13. Store hours were temporarily reduced to 10 to 2, and every effort was made to receive product and maintain deliveries.
Thankfully, orders started coming in, and it was not long before some staff were needed. Working around their home schedules since daycares were closed, we had to come up with a new plan to maintain service to clients.
Most staff members worked part time at the beginning. Customers were very understanding as we worked through everything. Adjustments were made to the store and how we operate. We sourced our sanitizer locally through Deep Roots Distillery and hired a local company to manage our social media.
In store, a hand sanitizing station was added, sanitizer bottles were placed in the delivery vehicles, and all staff members were given masks to use at their discretion. Hours are now extended to Monday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm.
As of July 6, all staff, with exception of one, are back to full time hours.
We cannot thank our customers enough for their support.
For more information about HMS Office Supplies, call 902-436-4281. Visit www.hmsoffice.ca