First Bite Treats has been through a lot in the six months since it first opened in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.

Starting this year with a COVID-19 lockdown was “really disheartening,” says owner Abdallah Jama. He was hoping to turn things around in February with the reopening. Then the so-called “Freedom Convoy” descended on Parliament Hill.

“Business has been, to be frank, pretty tough,” Jama tells Global News. His shop is made for foot traffic with Instagrammable touches including a giant pink wall of flowers with a fluorescent sign that reads “Love at first bite” to complement his “croffle” creation — a cross between a croissant and a waffle. As a small business owner, he says he can’t afford to shut down, even though his store, located on Sussex Drive, is a stone’s throw from the bulk of the disruption on Parliament. He goes into the store seven days a week, but sees reduced traffic and difficulties sending out delivery orders because he says drivers with Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes don’t want to get stuck in convoy-related traffic.

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