As we enter Phase 2 of BC's Restart Plan, local businesses in Richmond continue to adapt to new public safety and health guidelines. It is a challenging time for many businesses as they enter another phase of uncertainty with new regulations. However, despite all the adversity, Richmond businesses have demonstrated resiliency and determination; and many have pivoted their operations to offer a different type of experience to customers. Some businesses have also gone above and beyond to give back to our local community.

Here are a few inspiring, feel good stories from Richmond businesses that will lift your spirits.

This is Part 2 of the Feel Good Stories blog series. For Part 1, please click here.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Reopened with Food Drive

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport has been welcoming shoppers through its doors since 2015. On a typical day, you will find the outlet bustling with eager and savvy shoppers, some travelling from as far away as China. This past March, things started to look different when most retailers had to temporarily close their business due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

After two months of being closed, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet marked its reopening by partnering with the Richmond Football Club to organize a food drive on May 23 & 24, 2020. The food drive’s goal was to collect donations of necessary non-perishable food items and toiletries for those in need. All donations went to the Richmond Food Bank Society, which has been helping over 2,200 people in the Richmond community since the start of the pandemic.

As a result of everyone’s generosity and enthusiasm, the Food Drive received over 400 lbs of donated food, and roughly $500 in cash donations. This is a testament to the power of collaboration, and the positive impact it has on our local community. For those who are itching to go shopping, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is now open from 10:00am to 6:00pm daily.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Food Drive
​Non-perishable food donations for the Richmond Food Bank | Photo Credit: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport

Bodhi Meditation Donated Over 1,500 PPE

Bodhi Meditation, founded by Grandmaster JinBodhi, opened its facility in Richmond in 2005; it has since expanded to over 30 countries across the globe. Bodhi Meditation has offered free meditation classes to thousands of students, including out-of-town visitors.

During this difficult time, Grandmaster JinBodhi donated over 1,500 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline workers and first responders in Richmond (1,000 gowns and 500 goggles). He has also contributed over 100,000 face masks to the Richmond Fire Rescue department to support their efforts in protecting public safety.

Bodhi Meditation vowed to continue to support frontline workers, and improve the well-being of the community through free online meditation classes. COVID-19 has presented some unprecedented challenges for everyone, but it's important not to forget about our physical and mental health. Take good care of yourself, and take advantage of the community resources available to you.

Bodhi Meditation PPE Donation
Donation of masks and goggles to the Richmond Fire Rescue Department | Photo: Bodhi Meditation

The Gaming Stadium Hosted Online Hockey Tournament

Hockey fans might be disappointed that the NHL season was cut short. However, in a strange time where virtual experiences are becoming the norm, The Gaming Stadium, Canada’s first esports stadium, has made it possible for hockey fans to play with their idols.

On May 17, The Gaming Stadium hosted the Shaw Online Hockey Challenge—a free, virtual event—with four professional hockey players. The players were the Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen; Ottawa Senators’ Thomas Chabot; Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin; and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois.

This highly anticipated hockey event was streamed live and consisted of two phases; each phase had its own single elimination tournament. The first phase was open to everyone, and 86 community members competed against each other on the EA Sports’ NHL 20 game for a chance to challenge a professional hockey player. The second phase was a battle against the four professional hockey players, each determined to prove their talent off the ice. In the end, it was Vancouver Canuck’s Jake Virtanen who defeated all worthy challengers and was crowned the ultimate victor of the Online Hockey Tournament.

In a time where people are encouraged to stay at home, having an outlet to channel your energy is important. The tournament provided a great opportunity for hockey fans to connect with their idols, and to create a positive and safe environment for people to play together.

The Gaming Stadium Hockey Challenge
Screenshot of the Online Hockey Tournament | Photo Credit: The Gaming Stadium YouTube Channel

Feeding our Frontlines Benefits Restaurants and Healthcare Workers

It is not an understatement to say our community is stronger than ever. In the past few months, many business owners and community members have joined forces to help those in need, and to fuel those who are working hard to protect our communities. An example of one initiative is the Feeding our Frontlines campaign, which was created by Christoph Barrow and Michael Tran of Pacific Poke in Vancouver, to support health workers and local businesses.

The Feeding our Frontlines campaign encourages donors to purchase a meal for a frontline health worker from their favourite local restaurants. This helps support healthcare workers who are working around the clock to protect lives, and local restaurants that are struggling to stay open. This initiative has launched in four Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Participating Richmond restaurants include Bánh Mì Très Bon, Pokey Okey, and Yuu Japanese Tapas. All three restaurants are operated by small business owners who are ensuring frontline workers are well-fed. Through the donations received from the initiative, Yuu Japanese Tapas was able to contribute 48 garlic pork shake ramen buckets and drinks to the long-term healthcare workers at Rosewood Manor, a seniors’ residential care facility in Richmond. Bánh Mì Très Bon has also donated 80 bahn mi sandwiches to night shift workers at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital. Aside from the heart-felt 7:00pm salutes, the nutritious meals provided by these restaurants will fill and warm up their stomachs.

Want to help? You can either donate to this cause, or sign up to volunteer to distribute restaurant meals. Click here for more information.

There is also another initiative with a similar objective and name: Feed our Frontline Vancouver.

Yuu Japanese Tapas Food Donation
Volunteers delivering from Yuu Japanese Tapas food and drink items to Rosewood Manor | Photo Credit: Yuu Japanese Tapas