Gatineau car dealership gives away free cases of hand sanitizer to community OB Prestige has “thousands of cases” to give away, says owner

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For the last few weeks, Gatineau-based car dealership OB Prestige has given away thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to members of the community – and there’s still plenty more to go around.

OB Prestige’s owner, Olivier Benloulou, has a large stock of hand sanitizer that he says could last until 2023. Initially planning on selling bottles and cases individually, Benloulou decided to support the local community by giving cases away for free.

“ is worse than ever, and people need protection,” said Benloulou. “The worst wave is here now, and people are in need. I intend on giving sanitizer away until my stocks are gone.”

Those interested can drive by the dealership – located at 1380 Boulevard Gréber – and honk their car horn twice. Someone will attend to them and give them a case of sanitizer.

Benloulou saw the importance of availability for hand sanitizer when the pandemic began. As the owner of both a hand sanitizer company and company that manufactures health products and antibiotics, he found that a lot of people turned to him with questions about producing hand sanitizer.

He was also motivated to produce hand sanitizer after becoming angered by a combination of issues that led to scarcity: stocking issues and price gauging. In other words, people were stocking up on sanitizer in large quantities, as they did with toilet paper, at the start of the pandemic. Retailers reacted by jacking up the price of these products.

“I really feel that it’s not right to do it when it’s a necessity,” Benloulou said. “I felt it was abusive to ask for so much money for something so essential for people to protect their own safety.”

Initially, Benloulou planned to sell the sanitizer at an affordable price – but recently, he chose to take an even more helpful approach to distributing the product.

“When the second and third wave quickly happened, we had new variants and more people were getting sick,” he explained. “I realized that now was the time to act. I thought, ‘how can I help?’ My way to help was to give the products away to people in need.”

He announced online that he would give away a case of 24 bottles for free to anyone who stopped by over the course of a week. He estimates that 10,000 bottles were given away during the week. Extending the opportunity for another week, he found that interest only grew – he estimates that 15,000 bottles were handed out during the second week.

Realizing the positive impact that the free cases could make on the community, he decided to offer the opportunity permanently.

“There are so many kinds of people who come to get products: people from construction, people with businesses, mothers with kids, daycare operators, and elderly people,” he explained. “This is exactly who I want to help.”

Rather than giving away one or two bottles for free, each car that comes by is given a full case of 24 bottles – a decision that Benloulou hopes will pay off in the long run. He estimates that each case could be worth up to $175, depending on the retailer – though he says that helping the community is more important than making a profit off of his stock.

“It’s a large value,” he says. “If a family can stretch a bottle for one month, they’ll have enough bottles for two years.”

He also encourages those who get cases to consider giving bottles to friends and family members, should the opportunity arise.

Benloulou hopes that other businesses will be encouraged to support the community in similar ways.

“Let’s stay positive take concrete actions,” he said. “If more businesses could help their community, we would be in a much better place.”

For more information about this initiative, follow OB Prestige Auto on Facebook and Instagram.

Content Team

Google Sees Surge In Travel Ads Amid Vaccine Rollout


Google’s first-quarter revenue has been revealed at $45.6 billion. The number topples over what Wall Street had estimated, and, according to Bloomberg, it indicates a shift in user behaviour: people are itching to get back to ‘normal’ life, and their Google use reflects that.

As Bloomberg explains, Google has had its share of ups and downs since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Like most major tech companies, Google found some success as behaviours shifted.

For example, revenue for YouTube skyrocketed as more users were spending time at home. Google’s cloud services found success as well, as more users began working remotely. However, Google struggled in some areas – most notably, search queries for travel and trips decreased, and Google’s travel-based services went mostly unused.

Google’s most recent numbers show rampant success, and chief financial officer Ruth Porat says that they “reflect elevated consumer activity online and broad-based growth in advertiser revenue.”

The vaccine effect: how Google’s numbers show shifting behaviours

More than one million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been given worldwide. Google’s recent user activity patterns may indicate that users are starting to use the search engine for things that were largely unavailable during the pandemic: physical shops, restaurants, and travel destinations. In fact, Google has experienced a surge in ad sales for travel and retail.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, as vaccination rates are climbing while new COVID-19 strains are concerning experts. Google’s financial reports will continue to be a snapshot of user behaviour as this period continues.

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Surviving The Pandemic As a Business Owner


How To Ride Out Unprecedented Circumstances and Come Out Stronger

For business owners, 2020 has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. After months of lockdowns, forced closures, and soft re-openings with strict COVID-19 protocols in place, things are starting to feel like some semblance of a normal life. Well, maybe not exactly, but we’re getting there. Even still, with so many twists and turns coming at us left, right, and center, you never know what 2020 will throw at us next. So, why is it that some businesses seem to be thriving instead of struggling to stay afloat?

Take these companies, for example:

  • Peloton revenue grew 66% in the first quarter of 2020
  • Video game company sales have risen 21% to $1.52B in the first quarter of this year
  • Zoom’s stock went up 120% in 2020
  • Wayfair saw a 20% increase in sales

So, how can SMBs follow from the examples of these giants? We will explore the different ways business owners can optimize their business for success, despite a global pandemic with no end in sight.

Adapt to the Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we shop, and it’s no secret that now, more than ever, consumers are choosing to shop online from the safety of their homes. So, if you’re a brick and mortar store that is struggling to draw in customers, now should be the time to transition to e-commerce.

Hiring an agency that specializes in digital marketing strategies like UX and Search Engine Optimization along with web design will help ensure your online store is optimized for success right from the start.

For some businesses, though, this may not be an option. For restaurants that have been forced to close or are struggling to fill tables, consider offering delivery if you aren’t already. Another option is to bottle/jar and sell signature items like sauces, condiments, and soups.

If your business requires meeting with clients, switch to video calls whenever possible.

Instead of fighting the pandemic and challenging restrictions, go with the flow and adapt your business so you don’t end up falling victim to the coronavirus.

Promote Your New eCom

Building a new website isn’t effective without a strong marketing strategy to promote it. When launching an eCom, your marketing plan should include:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid ads
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Strong visuals

Even if you haven’t launched a new website, your marketing efforts should not slow down or stop during a pandemic. Marketing is one of the most important investments you can make during this time and will enable you to grow your business during an otherwise tumultuous time. Whether it’s maintaining existing campaigns or trying something new, like video and social media, don’t be afraid to spend more time and money on marketing during this time – it will pay off in the long run, we promise.

Setting the Tone With Your Marketing Efforts

While most people are probably sick of hearing about COVID-19 by now, pretending the pandemic doesn’t exist can come across as tone-deaf and leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths.

In any type of marketing or messaging you put out, maintain a reassuring, positive tone. Try to avoid making jest of the current situation, unless it’s done tastefully and humour is a part of your branding.

Strong Customer Service

Customer service has always been important, but add a pandemic into the mix and it becomes absolutely critical.

In a time where so many customers are re-evaluating where they give their business, do not give anyone a reason to jump ship. Whether it’s delayed shipping or handling customer complaints, make yourself available, and offer excellent customer service.

One way to make yourself available 24/7 is implementing an online chat tool on your website where customers can go to with any questions they may have any time of day. And if you don’t have one already, create a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page where you can answer questions related to shipping times and costs, COVID-19 policies, and more.

And most importantly, be transparent and open about any changes or new policies that have been implemented due to COVID-19 and how they may impact your customers. Whether you send out emails or post about it on your social media, make sure you get the word out.

Set Reasonable Expectations

If you know there will be pandemic related delays, communicate this from the get-go so customers know exactly what to expect.

Nobody appreciates being left in the dark, so don’t put your customers in this position, no matter how unprecedented the situation may be.

Being a business owner during a global pandemic is not easy. By shifting your attitude and adapting your business to these unprecedented circumstances, it is possible to not only survive the pandemic but to thrive both during and long after.

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