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Chapman's Ice Cream seeing reverse-boycott

A $1 raise to its fully vaccinated employees sparked online outrage and an attempted boycott, but Chapman's has since received an outpouring of support
2021_02_18 Chapmans Ice Cream Markdale_JG

One of Canada's most iconic brands since 1973, the family-owned Chapman's Ice Cream, out of Markdale, Ontario, was the centre of online hate and an attempted boycott in recent weeks.

Now, the supportive #IStandWithChapmans is circulating online, taking over the #BoycottChapmans, that was started by a group of angry anti-vaxxers.

"The worst possible things you could say to a human being, that's what we were subjected to," Vice President, Ashley Chapman, told the Mike Farwell Show on CityNews 570. "Not only did they wish that my family, and everyone who works here, die, but also that my small children, die."

The hatred started when Chapman's implemented a vaccine policy for its employees. As of November 21, proof of double vaccination was required, or proof of a negative rapid antigen test, bi-weekly, for those not fully vaccinated. The company then decided to give fully vaccinated staff members a $1 raise to equalize the money being spent on rapid tests.

"When you look at the history of our company, and everything we've tried to do for the community, our employees, and people in Canada, it's ridiculous really," Chapman said.

The attempted boycott didn't last long. Chapman's is now seeing a flood of support, and Chapman said not once did they consider backing down on their decision.

"It's been really nice, we've gotten some really kind feedback" added Chapman. "People from right across the country ... in the United States ... even the unvaccinated, actually, saying thank you for giving your employees a choice."

The ice cream company has over 800 employees, and Chapman said, as of Thursday, only five per cent of the workforce remain not fully vaccinated. 

"We've certainly seen a lift [in sales] over last year at this time," said Chapman. "You never know if it's an anomaly ... but if I was a gambling man, I'd definitely go for this has increased my sales considerably."

Chapman said a handful of employees are angry about not getting the $1 raise, but overall, it seems to be fading. The holiday season is also bringing some extra joy.

"My parents have done holiday bonuses since 1973, so we're getting through the bonus period now," said Chapman. "Even the unvaccinated are happy because they're getting a good chunk of money to spend on their families this Christmas season."

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