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High Country businesses get generous despite financial woes

Some Black Diamond and Turner Valley businesses are giving more than they’re asking for in return, despite the struggles they’re facing in light of COVID-19.
Rollick Co
Colin Fleming, owner of Rollick Co. in Black Diamond, is offering free tune-ups for bikes belonging to children ages 12 and under throughout the month of April. (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Harcombe Fleming)

Some Black Diamond and Turner Valley businesses are giving more than they’re asking for in return, despite the struggles they’re facing in light of COVID-19.

Centred on Centre co-owner Natalie Carrington has offered free online yoga to hundreds of Foothills residents since March 16 - before social distancing regulations were mandated in Alberta.

“We had an older population coming into the studio for classes on a regular basis and from what we were seeing and hearing it was best for people to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus,” she said.

Carrington, who offers chiropractic services in Black Diamond, alongside husband Greg Morris, said while they aren’t earning much of a living offering only emergency chiropractic services since closing their doors last month, she felt it was important to provide live and recorded yoga sessions on the Centred on Centre Online Community Facebook page – even if people couldn’t help cover the cost of the instructors.

Those able to pay have amounted to about 50 of the almost 500 Facebook members, said Carrington.

“The yoga studio has really become a community hub, so to suddenly close and not be able to offer something to our community doesn’t feel right,” she said. “To us it’s such an important part of keeping wellness within the community.”

Carrington and her 10 instructors frequently receive messages of gratitude from frontline workers, home-schooling moms and the elderly.

“It gives them a sense of community,” she said. “None of it would be possible without our amazing instructors.”

Home-based outdoor shop, Rollick Co., is also providing a free service – bike tune-ups for children ages 12 and under throughout April.

Owner Colin Fleming, who operates his business out of his Black Diamond garage, said with school out early because of COVID-19 he wasn’t able to provide quick tune-ups during the C. Ian McLaren School and Turner Valley School bike rodeos this spring, so he’s doing the next best thing.

Fleming is inviting families to make an appointment to drop off their child’s bike in his driveway for a more detailed tune-up than he provided during the bike rodeos - where RCMP officers and firefighters teach bike safety to elementary school students each spring.

“You don’t get much of a tune-up at the bike rodeo but we make sure all of the kids’ tubes are pressurized and brakes are working and we try to get the bikes at least road worthy,” he said.

After seeing so many bikes in rough shape last year, Fleming wanted to ensure youngsters' bikes will be well equipped this spring and summer. He’s already fixed a dozen, with more scheduled this week.

“Bike riding and walking are really the only things kids are allowed to do right now – they can’t even go to the parks,” he said. “We’re a pretty active family and we know the importance of being outside.”

Once the bikes are dropped off, Fleming sprays them down with disinfectant and checks the brakes and gears, degreases and oils the chain and inflates the tires. If something needs replacing, he requests permission to do so and charges only for the part.

Tune-up requests can be sent to rollickcompany@gmail.com or Rollick Co. on Facebook.

A free service that’s gaining popularity across the region are porch portraits.

Black Diamond professional photographer Jessica Harcombe Fleming has kept busy with her Porch-traits for Good. She’s been offering free photographs to families and businesses since last month.

“It brings me joy,” she said. “It’s a moment in history that we’re never going to experience again.”

Harcombe Fleming said the portraits bring her back to the days when nuclear families had their pictures taken in front of their homes.

“We’ve moved away from that,” she said. “We go to beautiful forests and rivers for these family photo shoots. Very rarely do we do it in the space we call home.”

Rather than accept payment for her portraits, Harcombe Fleming is asking people to pay it forward by spreading kindness – from making food for neighbours to donating to the Oilfields Food Bank. Portrait requests can be made by messaging Jessica Harcombe Fleming on Facebook.

For updated information, follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.

Tammy Rollie, OkotoksToday.ca


Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is an award-winning reporter at OkotoksToday.ca, the Western Wheel newspaper, 51 Degrees North Magazine and the Okotokian Magazine. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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