A young business in Stratford is getting a lift to help increase its customer base.
Your Local Market Co-op, a workers' co-operative food store that opened last year on Downie Street, is the recipient of a $7,000 grant – money that will go to support its business and community outreach efforts.
The money is one of 16 grants announced this week through the Co-operators Foundation Co-operative Development program, which supports emerging and expanding Canadian co-operatives.
“One of the weaknesses of our tight budget has been the inability to properly advertise,” notes Heather Walker, a representative for the market. “But thanks to The Co-operators this is about to change for Year 2.
“The grant has enabled us to get the word out and will help increase our customer base, and surely give us a boost towards becoming a financially self-reliant business.”
The market’s goal is to promote healthy, affordable local food and help develop a sustainable food system, while providing sustainable employment.
The market offers produce, meat, dairy and packaged products from local farmers and food producers. It also has a bakery and kitchen where fresh bread and food items are made for sale onsite.
This isn’t the only support the market is receiving this year from The Co-operators.
The Stratford Co-operators insurance agency, Peter Maranger & Associates, has helped the market set-up FoodBike, a bicycle delivery service that is in operation this summer.
The market had begun fundraising to purchase a specially fitted delivery bike for the program but the agency stepped in and donated $2,500 to cover the full cost of the bike.
“We liked the idea and felt that it would be a great opportunity to show our support for their initiative by purchasing the bicycle,” says Maranger. “This is a perfect example of win-win-win as this start up co-op gets a boost and provides summer employment, customers enjoy better, healthier food products delivered right to their door, and we get to support a fellow co-operative.”