WINNIPEG — A new online shopping platform is helping local small businesses survive COVID-19 restrictions as the holiday gift-buying rush approaches.
Winnipeg entrepreneur and former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan has recently launched GoodLocal.ca to help local retailers and makers compete with the big box retailers, which are still allowed to conduct in-person business.
Khan, the owner of Green Carrot Juice and Shawarma Khan, came up with the idea eight months ago as a result of the pandemic and the response from Manitobans has shown the website to be a valuable one-stop-shopping resource.
“It was back in April when we (Ali Esmail and I) were speaking and, we got started talking about local businesses and how this pandemic is going to cripple them (maybe even mine) so we started thinking of ideas about what we could do to help,” Khan told ChrisD.ca.
“These businesses must have tens of thousands of dollars in inventory sitting in their garage, basement, and stores that they can’t sell because of the restrictions. We thought, there has to be somewhere you can find local businesses, shop local, and get it delivered to you and there wasn’t so we created one. An online platform for local businesses to help them sell their products and we will deliver it. And from there, the idea has taken off and formed its own community of local shoppers and local vendors.”
The message in recent weeks has been to stay home to help curb the spread of the virus, making it a no-brainer for shoppers to spend their dollars safely from the comfort of their homes. Tighter public health restrictions that took effect on November 20 have only reinforced that feeling to stay put and shop online.
“Our orders have increased 1,000 percent this week alone,” he added. “We did about 20 orders our first soft launch we and this past week we did 284 and this coming up week we already have 411 orders.”
Khan says the vendors selling their goods on the website are fellow Manitobans offering products you would normally find at The Forks Market or on the shelves of stores in the Exchange District.
“I am getting emails, texts, and calls from all sorts of vendors who are thanking us for stepping up with this idea and for making it easy and fair for them to sell on our platform.”
The service is offered free to the more than 100 listed makers, vendors, retailers, and farmers to showcase their wares, with no commission or fees being collected.
Customers who make a purchase are charged a $5 delivery fee, with service being offered anywhere within city limits (future plans include delivery outside of the Perimeter). There is also a free pickup option.
“I know the big box retailers will be here when the lockdown ends. We might not.”
Small, local businesses need our support more than ever this holiday season. While we’re all staying home, consider https://t.co/FdKvRnMJei to find Manitoba merchants & makers. Thanks to @obbykhan60 & Ali Esmail for creating this resource! #StayHome #SupportLocal ? pic.twitter.com/yd3fvPyul1
— ChrisD.ca (@ChrisDca) November 15, 2020
This is an updated version of a story that was originally published on November 16, 2020.