Downtown Bowmanville Business Spotlight: Scrub’n

Katherine Ryalen

"We are happy to keep people safe and comfortable," Cathy adds. "We certainly do enjoy our business."

Walking along Historic Bowmanville’s main street of Highway 2 is like taking a stroll through time. This quaint downtown core is lined with one-of-a-kind retail shops, artisanal eateries, specialty services and family-owned businesses. It is a place that makes you feel like home, even if your home is officially somewhere else. You may not anticipate that any of these quaint shops or businesses attract customers and clients from far and wide, but nothing could be further from the truth. Several of them are popular merchants whose names are well-known beyond our Durham Region borders. Take, for example, Scrub’n.

Owned and operated by Cathy Holmes, Scrub’n is a medical uniform retailer known for its large variety of styles and colours, a wide range of sizes, and unparalleled personal service extended to each and every customer that walks through its door.

“We reach way farther than just Bowmanville,” Cathy says. “We have people coming from Toronto, Kingston, and even Northern Ontario. We have quite a reach.”

We may be a bit biased, but that’s pretty impressive for a small-town store in the heart of our charming Downtown Bowmanville.

It’s the wide range of choice that Scrub’n offers that attracts its customers. Step through the doors of Cathy’s store, and you will be greeted by sizes from double extra small to 5XL—ready to try on and take home. Patrons love the newest, trendiest materials that help them do what they do in not only style, but comfort as well—a welcome bonus in an industry that typically sees workers on their feet for much of the day.

“It’s not just the old, traditional stuff like your mom or your grandma would have worn, or even what the big box stores would carry,” Cathy says. “It’s figure-flattering, it moves with your body, it wicks away moisture, destroys bacteria—I mean, it’s high-tech stuff.”

Of course, being a medical uniform provider, COVID-19 has figured prominently in both the daily operations and growth of Scrub’n. Business has predictably picked up with the increased need coming from front-line healthcare workers. But it’s more than just medical professionals who frequent Cathy’s premises.

“We supply the dental service industry, veterinary clinics and dog groomers, pharmacies, physiotherapists and massage therapy, chiropractors, aestheticians… It’s more than just the nurses,” she states.

It is no wonder that the store has been busy, and a new influx of clientele have fallen in love with Scrub’n. But what is truly remarkable is that this is not because of an advertising campaign or fancy marketing. You won’t find glossy Scrub’n spreads in Doctors’ Weekly Magazine, in other words.

“We’ve picked up a lot of new clients just by word of mouth,” Cathy says. “They see other co-workers wearing certain things, and it’s new and exciting, and they say, ‘Where did you get that?’”

In addition to the uniforms, customers can purchase additional items that help make work-life easier during these times of COVID-19. Things like headbands with buttons and scrub caps with snap tabs are particularly popular. When one is required to wear a mask all day, accessories like these can be a saving grace since they relieve the irritation on the ears from the mask’s elastics. A large selection of medical-grade shoes is also carried, which offers support and coverage for front-line workers on their feet all day.

“With COVID-19,” Cathy says, “it has all become that much more important. The little things matter now.”

One profession that has never traditionally relied on medical uniforms, but with COVID-19 has seen employees flock to Downtown Bowmanville, is surprisingly… teachers. We didn’t expect to hear that, but we can understand why.

“During the pandemic, quite a few principals asked their staff to purchase scrubs so that they could wash and wear them frequently,” Cathy explains. “Or to purchase jackets so that they wouldn’t be re-wearing cardigans multiple days that might carry the infection. We have gained a lot of teachers as clients—especially the ones that teach the younger grades, like kindergarten. They get down on the floor with the kids, have closer contact, that kind of thing.”

During the initial lockdown in Ontario, Scrub’n continued to be available to its clients with its attractive and easy-to-navigate website. Though the business could have remained open as an essential service, Cathy and her team decided to shut their doors to keep our community safe and to limit in-person interactions with customers coming to Downtown Bowmanville from outside of our region.

“We remained functional,” she recalls. “We did curbside pickup; you could purchase at the door, over the phone, over our website—we stayed available.”

“We are happy to keep people safe and comfortable,” she adds. “We certainly do enjoy our business.”

While we continue to do all that we can to remain safe, socially distanced, and compliant with COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, let’s give a special thanks to the team at Scrub’n in our charming, quaint Historic Downtown Bowmanville for playing such a prominent role in combating the pandemic and ensuring our front-line workers all over Ontario have what they need to do their jobs.

NOTE: At the time of publishing, Durham Region is in a province-wide shutdown with extensive measures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Residents are encouraged to stay at home with exception of essential trips, wash hands frequently, wear a mask and physically distance from others.

We continue to publish these stories to encourage you to explore these businesses and communities online and through social media. When possible, please order for safe curbside pick-up if offered, and prepare to explore these areas once they are able to safely reopen.