CBC National: How local, online startups are hoping to snatch Black Friday away from the big boys amid COVID-19

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Reposted from CBC News:

Ibrahim “Obby” Khan is the co-founder of Goodlocal.ca, a Winnipeg-based web platform that he describes as being like “Amazon and Etsy meet local.”

As the owner of a half dozen Winnipeg restaurants, Khan knows just how hard things have been for local vendors lately. That’s why he spearheaded a plan to bring together a handful of businesses that were doing fine before COVID-19, but found themselves losing sales afterwards because they weren’t able to pivot to online selling  — or handle delivery, if they could get enough sales to make it worthwhile.

Goodlocal has become a sort of middle man for those businesses, connecting retailers with consumers who want to shop from them even amid current COVID restrictions. It’s searchable by product and growing by the day.

“If you want it and it’s local, you can order it. We will take care of the packaging, getting it from the vendor and we will drop it off at your house,” Khan said.

While the initiative started slowly with a few dozen vendors, it now has wares from more than 200 — and a backlog of  almost as many, looking to sign up. It’s been such a success he hopes to expand across the province and maybe the country, next year.

Khan said the site has grown from just 18 orders on its launch day, a few weeks ago, to hundreds everyday. On Wednesday, the site processed a record 705 orders.

Goodlocal has put $91,000 worth of sales into retailers’ pockets in a matter of weeks. Those are real dollars that could be the difference between staying open or shutting down forever for some of them, he said. “You could see tears in some of our vendors eyes … they were saying: ‘I’ve sold more in two weeks than I have sold in the last nine months since COVID started’.” Read More >