Coping With COVID-19 As The Owner Of Paul Hahn & Co.

I love a good holiday. Better yet, I always loved the feeling of getting back to the piano shop; it’s what I knew, it’s what I lived, it was the biggest part of my life. On March 26th, 2020, leaving the piano store at 1058 Yonge Street for what would be an indeterminate amount of time, was going to be no holiday. It was more like my worst nightmare: the fear of the unknown. I was literally beside myself; terror, defeat, and loneliness set in. For those of you who know me and Paul Hahn & Co., the piano store is open 6 days a week, and for 30 years as long as I was in the city I would head to the office.  The idea of not having my routine, my shop, my people as part of my everyday life was unimaginable…

As a reputable 100-year-old business, I was hoping Paul Hahn & Co. would navigate this pandemic gracefully and with dignity. Processing the idea that the doors of Paul Hahn & Company were actually closed, that there would be no revenue, no piano sales, no piano tunings, no piano restoration and no piano moves, took time. This is where I have to give my dad, Paul Hahn Jr., a little credit. He took such pride drilling it into my head: get debt free, create savings for the tough times (because they will come) and don’t over-extend yourself. I’m proud to say I actually followed his advice. I was also grateful for my husband who wisely decided he needed to get me out of town. We packed up for what was to be a long weekend and headed north to our cottage: an island on Lake Temagami with no running water. NOTE TO READER: This was before the provincial request to stay home.

Arriving on our island, we were forced to perform some of life’s fundamentals which was a perfect distraction. The fires needed to be stoked day and night to keep warm in our half insulated cabin, and water was to be hauled from a hole in the ice cut by a manual auger. It was amazing how fast we adjusted to living simply alongside Mother Nature. Over the next few weeks, I will get to experience the phenomenon locals call “ice out”: a 2-4 week process of being stranded on one’s island, watching and listening to  the ice leave the lake – Mother Nature at her best.  

I have been pushed out of my comfort zone, away from any routine and the old normal, doing what I can to help manage these times; reminding myself that this is an opportunity to grow as a person, being ready to adapt to whatever lies ahead.  Lots of reading, free webinars, and a few daily positive affirmations; I have started to turn my thinking around from everything I can’t do right now to asking myself, “what can I do”.    

We are now in our fifth week and I am committed to staying put until the provincial governments allows us to open the doors of Paul Hahn & Co. Turns out the one thing I love more than my piano store is being surrounded by nature and all the beauty it has to offer. I am a ready for what lies ahead, to be tested beyond belief to see everything I worked for being pushed to its limits.