This is Small Business
There is no doubt that the last year has been tough and the ways in which we worked and lived changed almost instantly.
With those changing times, small businesses have needed to leverage their flexibility, optimism and creativity. They have adapted and many have updated their business models to keep going. They have added online shopping options, curbside pick-up and delivery, new product offerings, take-out and a very extra large daily serving of patience.
As a small batch jam maker and social enterprise located in the Niagara Region, we currently have partnerships with many retailers in communities across Ontario.
Our retail partners include artisan marketplaces, bakeries, cafes, natural food and eco-friendly markets, home decor stores, small grocery and gourmet food stores, wineries and even a pharmacy in Oshawa.
Our jam products can also be found in fruit and vegetable boxes, gift baskets and on charcuterie boards.
These are all small businesses who are 100% dependent on their communities to keep going.
Prior to 2020, our business model was a combination of online, retail partnerships and sales at craft shows and seasonal markets that drew large crowds from our community in and around the Niagara Region. We will likely not see those events until 2022 so we have also needed to pivot over the last year. Thankfully, in the midst of all the unknowns, our retail partnerships grew.
It is true that our organization has kept going because of our volunteers but since March of 2020, we have continued to sell jams predominantly through the support and extended community networks of our small business retail partners.
Many of the small business owners who carry our jams, reached out to us because they had either heard about our mission to disrupt the cycle of homelessness, or heard that net proceeds from our jams go towards supporting Southridge Shelter programs.
They wanted to help.
Others may have tasted our jams or heard about us through social media or from one of their customers.
However they came across our products, we continue to be incredibly grateful for their partnership.
This is small business.
The struggle has always been very real and as creative as small businesses can get, we will always need the support of our communities.
One way you can help now or continue to help is by making local shopping a part of your retail experience when you go online. Or, by shopping in person at small businesses that are currently open and continuing when they are all open for business again this summer.
When you shop small, you help to support local artisans and the brands that make our communities unique. Shopping small also provides an excellent opportunity for finding products you may never ever encounter elsewhere. Think good food, unique gifts and happy surprises.
Local businesses also tend to be owned and staffed by people who live right here in our communities and when you shop (and eat) locally, you are making both a social and economic investment in the towns and cities of Ontario.
We all appreciate your support and hope you will enjoy many local shopping experiences, whenever you have the opportunity.
May you also find a world of special treats, like our Southridge Jams!