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Portrait of a small business: Fresh n local

I'm suuuper excited today to bring you this interview with Curtis Coleman from Fresh n Local here in Saskatoon. He provides home delivery of items from the Farmer's Market, which helps save you time if you aren't able to get there when it's open. I am seriously stoked about this business, you have no idea. Speaking as someone who likes to eat local, fresh food - yet also values sleeping in on Saturday mornings - it's kinda perfect.

If you live in Saskatoon, you should make an order RIGHT NOW. And if you don't live in Saskatoon? Think about starting a service like this where you live. Or use the one that already exists where you live. 

Fresh n Local brings the Farmer's Market right to your door!
Hi, Curtis! So glad you could join us today to talk about your business. Tell us about Fresh n Local!

I started Fresh n Local in June of 2012. We are an online business that sells and delivers local, organic and fair trade food items. Fresh n Local currently sells produce, meat, baking, dairy and grocery items. We started in a small warehouse off of 33rd, and we have recently moved into a larger warehouse location on Millar Avenue in Saskatoon.

How did you get the idea to start this business?

I was working for a local greenhouse in Saskatoon when I noticed a gap in the market for a local/organic grocery delivery business. It seemed that almost every major city in Canada had a business offering these services other than Saskatoon. I decided to roll the dice and see if I could make a go at it.

Is this a side business, or your main job?

Although it isn't currently paying the bills, Fresh n Local is my main source of income. I have also recently started to sell biodegradable food products and packaging. Hopefully between the two I will one day be able to once again pay my mortgage :)

What sort of start-up costs did you have?

My main start up cost was my website. I also had to purchase inventory, a delivery vehicle and put a down deposit on the building I am currently leasing.

What resources did you use to set up your business (i.e. any specific books or websites?)

I used both online resources and books to start my business. There wasn't one in particular that had all of the information. It was everything from free online business plan templates to business guides on the RBC website. I purchased a pile of books and they all contributed in a small way.

You mentioned that you were trying to keep the costs low for customers - how do you decide on the prices for the products? How do you keep the delivery costs low?

I try to price my groceries as reasonable as possible. I charge the same amount for a tomato that you would pay at the farmer's market. I have lower overhead costs than traditional grocery stores, so I try to reflect that with my pricing. I also deliver for free if your order is over $50.

How have you been spreading the word?

I have been using Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word. I have also advertised in Well Being
Magazine. Starting in September you can see our ad in Planet S.

What tips do you have for people thinking of starting their own business?

For people starting their own business, I would recommend spending a lot of time on their business plan. I did not develop my business plan as much as I should have, and it ended up causing some avoidable headaches. I would also recommend having a means of personal escape. It is very easy to get caught up in your business and it doesn't take long before you are completely consumed. If it wasn't for yoga, bicycle riding and good fiction books I'm not sure I would have the sanity to keep going.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Fresh n Local will be offering next day delivery starting in September. From Tuesday to Saturday customers can place an order and have it arrive on their doorstep the following day. We are super excited about this!

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Curtis!

You can read more about his business on his website or Facebook page!

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