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Locked-down shops switch to online orders, but struggle with strained delivery system

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The runway has essentially been exhausted for guaranteed shipments prior to the holidays

Dan Kelly, chief executive, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

But if small stores can’t guarantee their goods will make it in time, they could miss out on the flurry of purchases that typically occur in the final two weeks before Christmas.

“Business owners — if you’re doing local deliveries — have basically taken it upon themselves to get in the car and drive around and drop things off,” Kelly said.

At A Different Booklist, a Toronto bookstore that specializes in literature from the African and Caribbean diaspora, co-owner Miguel San Vicente said he was not concerned about missing out on orders, since his shop has already received a high volume of them.

“Books are essential. They become more essential in a time like this,” he said. “Our main worry is really filling the needs of people in a timely way.”

Our main worry is really filling the needs of people in a timely way

Miguel San Vicente, co-owner, A Different Booklist

For its part, Purolator said it would only turn away new customers in “very rare” circumstances.

“For example, if their shipping requirements far exceeded our capacity to deliver effectively,” spokesperson Courtney Reistetter said in a statement. “Purolator is working to deliver for all customers, especially small businesses.”

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