As schools and businesses across Ontario started to close due to COVID-19, Christian Millan thought he was about to have a lot of down time. Little did he know, he was about to be even busier than usual.
Christian works at his family business, Millan Glass & Mirror. Typically, they provide custom glass and mirror solutions for customers in Southern Ontario. Once COVID hit, 75% of their projects were postponed, and no new construction projects were allowed to start.
In March, Christian went to see an existing client, a building manager at a condo in downtown Toronto. She wanted to put up protection at the reception desk. There is a lot of traffic flow in the lobby, and it was important to protect the people behind the desk.
The client wanted plastic, which Christian typically doesn’t work with. He had seen other setups designed to protect employees, but he didn’t like how they looked. He knew he could find a better solution that protected people, but also looked good.
He called an acrylic fabricator who typically makes display cases for convenience and grocery stores. Christian bought as much material as he could, so he could offer his clients both custom tempered glass and acrylic solutions. His client loved the result.
“Our first job was the best first job you could do,” he says.
After that first job, Christian and his team installed partitions at 40 locations in just two weeks.
Just like everyone else, Christian is worried about the effects of COVID on his loved ones and the community. His dad suffers from asthma and is therefore at a higher risk.
“This is a family business,” Christian says. “People are asking for our services, so it feels great to be able to help.”
No one knows what the new normal will look like yet. However, Christian has noticed that even as restrictions ease, his clients want partitions to stay in place.
“Most of the building managers I talk to are convinced this is going to be long term,” he says. “They want something there permanently.
Christian and his team started installing partitions for condo buildings, but they are now installing in places like physiotherapy clinics and science labs as they return to work. Regular projects have slowly started to pick back up, but Christian and his team will continue to install partitions as long as clients are asking for them.
“We are trying new things and seeing what works,” Christian says.
Businesses across Canada are adapting to our new reality. If you know a business we should feature, we would love to hear about it! Send us a note at [email protected].