CALGARY -- A local, family-owned honey business is thanking a new initiative for getting their product to shoppers.

Bear Bait Honey says it’s been struggling in more way than one during the pandemic.

“We ran out of honey in March and it was hard for us to replace that,” owner Herman Van Reekum said. “A lot of beekeepers import new colonies from New Zealand and that was shut down this year due to COVID.”

The family is having a tough time producing honey thanks to a fractured supply chain. Van Reekum says they’re down tens of thousands of bees, which has forced Bear Bait to start to dividing the colonies it already has to make more.

Once the pandemic hit and forced limitations on the market, Van Reekum says they knew they were in for a tough summer.

Luckily for the family, last week, a much larger Canadian store stepped in to help.

London Drugs’ Local Central program is aiming to offer small local companies a chance to sell their product to a wider market during a tough time.

“You see people that are struggling to get their items to their customers,” store manager Benjamin Pullein said. “Farmers markets are closed, stores are closed.”

Bear Bait Honey is one of 20 companies selected by London Drugs to be made available in Calgary stores.

Pullein says 1,200 businesses applied to be chosen and he hopes more will be sold soon.

“Logistically (Bear Bait) had product on hand that we could get to the stores quickly.”

An April report from Statistics Canada showed 57 per cent of Alberta businesses have had revenue drop by at least 20 per cent since March. Nearly a third of businesses in the country have seen revenue plummet by more than 40 per cent.

Most small businesses in Calgary have had to transition to delivery or curb side pickup options in order to keep money coming in and staff employed.

Van Reekum said the family is also out delivering to homes, but the boost from London Drugs is “huge for both sales and exposure.”