Making locally sourced lemonade out of lemons
Two weeks ago I found out my proposed location that I spent 6 months planning, making floor plans, planning electrical outlet installation to support commercial fridges was no longer a viable option. Disappointed but determined that it wouldn't stop me from moving forward. The next day I went out looking for spaces and re-considering the original idea (from 3 years ago); of a mobile store out of the back of a moving truck; I was brainstorming.
Two weeks ago COVID19 was present, we knew about the damage it was causing overseas, but it didn't directly affect us; not yet.
A week ago today I woke up to the news that Seaport Farmers Market; the largest farmers market in Nova Scotia had closed. Suddenly leaving hundreds of Nova Scotia farmers, producers and distributors without a direct sale channel for their customers.
Growing up in Halifax the Seaport Farmers Market was a cherished Saturday tradition. It was my favorite thing to do on the weekend. Needless to say, like many Nova Scotians it has a special place in my heart.
That news a week ago compelled me to do something to help. I had the research, early partnerships in place and the tools to do so. What started as a way to help local Nova Scotian Farmers turned in what is now a very real necessity on the North Shore. My initial survey for this project of produce box delivery had an overwhelming positive response. We then took it a step further and made options to add milk, cheese, eggs, bread, meats and treats to customize your box based on your needs.
I thought, hey if just a fraction of the people that showed interest bought a box I'd be in business.
Within 5 days, I ordered boxes and shipping supplies, confirmed all of my suppliers, found a temporary space (courtesy of the kindness of the Wentworth Rec Center), came up with a new business model and launched the website.
COVID19 has dramatically changed how we do business. Local businesses have had to become very strategic and creative to adapt to the uncertainty that is now our daily reality. Many of my suppliers have had to cut back on staff and with a heavy heart lay people off. That hits so close to home. It's a reality for a lot of us. Many of you reading this may already have found yourself in that situation and my heart breaks for you.
Since launching the website on Wednesday I have had requests to deliver as far as Halifax and New Glasgow and everywhere in between. While trying to be diverse in what we offer and not over complicate things at the same time. We have a coverage map and until we know how our first few delivery runs go we will be sticking with this map. We want to make sure we can handle what we have set out to do before we commit to more.
Sound business advice - K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid!
Until we master what we set out to do, that's our motto.
Last night at 10 PM we closed our first round of orders.
In a little over 48 hours we sold close to 100 boxes!
I am so incredibly, over the moon happy that I can help so many. I knew there was a need, I had no idea it was this high.
Thank-you North Shore and Nova Scotia Farmers! I flooded the email boxes of several suppliers late last night. Crunched the numbers, picked produce and submitted orders.
We are officially open for business now (2 whole months ahead of schedule) and will slowly grow our weekly offerings to allow for more selection.
Thank-you again everyone. My team and I have a busy few days ahead. Now this girl is going to get some sleep before I head to my day job this afternoon.