Shine On – meet the nominees – Puny Human

St. Stephen – Many businesses had to shut their doors over the past few weeks due to the COVID-19 crisis, but some remained open, and according to their loyal customers, went above and beyond the call of duty. For this reason, The Saint Croix Courier started the Shine On campaign, which highlights local businesses that have stepped up to the plate and made sure they were able to serve their clientele. Customers were asked to nominate the businesses they felt were going above and beyond, and one business in St. Stephen received several nominations.

Puny Human had to close their doors to the public, but it didn’t stop them from doing all they could to ensure that their customers were able to get what they needed. The store, which sells games and game cards, along with renting games, looked at this as an opportunity to be there for the community. Owner Lian Goodall said they were not able to have customers come into the store, so they took the products to their customers.

“We were delivering and picking up. I was actually more available to customers than I am normally,” said Goodall.

In addition to running a couple of fundraisers for the St. Stephen Food Bank, Goodall said they tried to spend as much time as possible answering customer questions and trying to make sure that they had games to play during the lockdown. She said they knew people were stressed out during this time, and they wanted to help bring some joy into the lives of their customers.

“We believe in the right to play, whether you’re a kid or an adult, so we tried to include something extra in the bags, whether it’s comics or a pack of cards or something like that,” said Goodall. ” I think it’s basically just our philosophy of trying to respond to people and that they’re stressed and that they needed to come and get games and puzzles. I can’t tell you how many puzzles we sold. It’s picking up now, especially the outdoor games. We’ve got some new outdoor games ready to go.”

Goodall said she had no idea about the Shine On campaign, or that her business was in the running to win an advertising package. She is thrilled, since money is tight and Puny Human didn’t qualify for any COVID funding because technically, they remained open.

“We just celebrated our one year anniversary on May 4. So, if we do get the prize that would be awesome for us. We’d be thrilled.”

One of the people who nominated Puny Human is Pam Garnett of McAdam. She said she and her family have been customers since the store opened last year, and that the owners are “absolutely wonderful”. Garnett said throughout COVID-19, she has been receiving updates on new games and other items in the store, and that Goodall has been putting things aside for her to pick up. She added Goodall even made deliveries to her home in McAdam.

“Wow. No other business has done this,” said Garnett. “Customer service has been outstanding. We’re not the only ones in McAdam. There’s at least two other people that they’ve delivered for here as well. They’ve really gone over and above, as far as I’m concerned. We dealt with a lot of places, and they’re the only one that has actually driven up to our home to deliver something to us. It blew my mind. I wanted people to make sure how great they are.”

Goodall said COVID-19 has actually given two gifts to the store, support from regular customers, and a new customer base that didn’t know the store existed previously. She said the support has been overwhelming, and they have realized that their clientele has their back.

There was one store employee who has had a bit of a rough time adjusting to the fact that customers weren’t coming into the store. Princess the cat, who is the store mascot, loves to hang out in the store with the customers, and Goodall said she became so lonely that she finally went upstairs to get attention from her human staff.

“Princess wants to be where everything is important,” said Goodall. “She felt unemployed. She slept in the store until COVID hit, and then she was really lonely and decided to come up with people. She meowed a lot at first, and was like, what’s going on? You don’t think it will affect your pets.”

Goodall wants to thank everyone who nominated Puny Human for the Shine On award. She said they are very grateful for all of the support they have received, and she can’t thank them enough for helping them stay open through this crisis.

“They’re an amazing bunch. We’re just very grateful for their support. They’ve been there since the beginning and sometimes when you feel the going gets tough, you just remember there’s a lot of people in your corner.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca