What happens to small town favorites when they can’t rely on the walk-in traffic that normally drives their business?
Three Oxford County entrepreneurs set out to address that gap with Support Local Oxford, a new local ecommerce platform that offers residents the opportunity to #shoplocal from their favorite Oxford County businesses all in one place, and have their purchases delivered directly to their doorstep.
Jerry Acchione, along with Matt Lipskey and Mitch Ludington, didn’t want to see small businesses across the county forced to close their doors. So, they asked themselves “how do you support local small businesses in a time when they literally couldn’t have people walk into their stores?”
Their solution was Support Local Oxford, an online space where Oxford County residents can buy the local products they love, without having to go pick them up. “The response has been fantastic so far,” says Acchione. “What makes us different is that people can order from their local businesses, and we’ll deliver it right to their door.”
Starting with a small collection of local vendors and crafters, Support Local Oxford is focused on building excitement, awareness, and a customer base for the site and the companies they represent.
“People still need to know they can order from the Great Canadian Honey company without having to drive out there.” explains Acchione. “They can pick up maple syrup, honey, produce, Habitual Chocolate, and lots of staples here in town.”
As residents discover Support Local Oxford, Acchione says that their customers “are learning you can order from five, six, seven, or more businesses and we bring it all to your door. We’re turning a corner.”
In addition to sales, they also want to help non-technical owners to better understand and embrace technology to grow their business, including online sales, contemporary marketing strategies and increased awareness.
“That’s the other thing we’re offering to them, amplifying through social media to promote their business. You can still walk into Select Heating and Cooling for your furnace supplies or Early Bird Coffee and pick up your coffee. It doesn’t have to come through our website, the awareness and the advertising is out there.“
As they plan for growth, delivering to customers across the county, Acchione explains their common-sense approach to expanding the website with offerings from other towns in Oxford as “if we’re going out to Tillsonburg, let’s pick up stuff while we’re there.”
Support Local Oxford has achieved early success facilitating sales for local businesses, with the partners laying the foundation for future growth in Oxford and beyond. “We’re learning, we’ve made some great strides, and we’re ready for that next level. We do believe that with more offerings, more vendors signing on, and more sales, we’ll have to expand with more drivers to deliver in a safe manner.”
Long term, Acchione and his partners envision leveraging the capabilities of their online platform to provide similar opportunities for artisans, creators, and merchants in other communities. “There’s good potential for us to add on to this with Support Local Middlesex, Support Local Norwich, Support Local Brant.”
If you’ve got a business idea to help strengthen your community, talk to our Venture Growth & Corporate Innovation team.