Non-profit creates website to make it easier to buy and sell local
Excellence NB launched an online shopping platform for local businesses to sell products
A new website is trying to make it a lot easier to buy New Brunswick-made products, regardless of where you live in the province.
Excellence NB, a non-profit organization that encourages buying local, has launched a website to help businesses sell their products online during the pandemic.
The website sells a wide array of goods, including art, clothes, furniture, toys, soap and food — all made and produced by New Brunswickers.
Carol Holmes, executive director of Excellence NB, said she wanted to make it easier for shoppers to find locally made products — especially as many businesses were affected by the economic collapse brought on by COVID-19 — and to do so in a safe manner.
"With the situation we're in right now, the need to be online and shopping online is more popular and more important than ever," Holmes said.
Businesses looking to sell their product through Excellence NB must be producing during the outbreak, have an online presence and be New Brunswick-based.
Registration is free for all New Brunswick businesses. Businesses that offer services are not permitted to register.
Once a customer has purchased something through Excellence NB, it's up to businesses to find a way to bring their product to consumers, Holmes said.
"They have to find a way to get the product to the consumer, whether it's curbside pickup or shipping directly to the consumers."
About 120 businesses have registered for the platform and more than 5,000 people have visited the site since it launched on May 8.
Exposure is a plus
David Briggs, owner of Briggs Maples Ltd. in Riverview, N.B., is using the platform to sell maple syrup and maple butter.
"I think this avenue they've provided will help a lot of people who don't have the exposure others might have to get their products out there and get noticed."
Briggs's syrup only hit the online platform a few days ago, so he's not sure how successful it will be yet, but he said any exposure is a plus for him.
The maple syrup season, which takes place between February and April, faced plummeting sales when COVID-19 hit New Brunswick in mid-March.
Briggs said he's seen an increase in people buying local during the pandemic, and he hopes that momentum continues as New Brunswick gradually lifts restrictions.
Holmes said she expects people will continue to make an effort to buy local, even as chain stores and malls reopen.
She believes more people are buying closer to home because local businesses are offering delivery and curbside pickup, which they may not have done prior to the pandemic.
"I think we're going back to some traditional ways of purchasing and buying closer to home because of what's happened."
With files from Shift