Bringing a community together while keeping them physically distanced

A table that a convenience store in Spruce Grove put up to keep employees and customers physically distanced during the pandemic has become a symbol of community.

When the pandemic began, many stores began putting up Plexiglas screens to help keep people safe.

At Century Convenience in Spruce Grove, they wanted to do something different as the screens felt like they were shutting the customers out, according to the co-owner. Instead, one of the owners of the store and a customer built a table to put in front of the check-out counter.

“I thought maybe people would get mad because of the distance and everything… but everyone’s loved it so much and they don’t want us moving from here,” said Jaskiran Kaleka, the co-owner of Century Convenience.

“I went and got paint it to kind of match the counter but then people came in and started asking, ‘Can I sign it?’”

The table is covered with names and notes from customers, some from as far away as B.C.

“I’m so thankful for the people in Spruce Grove here, I can’t thank them enough, they’re really beautiful people,” said Kaleka. “They’ve helped us through the pandemic so much, we didn’t even think that we’d be still keeping our door open.”

Once the pandemic is over, Kaleka plans to put the tabletop turned keepsake on display on the wall.