Bigger isn’t always better in the eyes of one businessman.
“Why did we decide to focus on local? Because it’s difficult for the big players to do.” That’s the business strategy used by Jim Beveridge of B&H Your Community Grocer, an independent retailer in Kemptville. His grocery store uses its small size to its advantage in the David and Goliath struggle for market share and sales.
Grocery retailers, chefs, and other food buyers are looking for local product and they want to buy local says Jessica Kelly, a direct farm marketing specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “Yet, when it comes to buying from farmers and small food processors, they say there’s often a gap between what they need, when they need it, and how they do business” she adds.
OMAFRA has a one-day workshop in March bringing together farmers and small food processors to learn how to address those gaps.
Ministry specialists in business management, business development, food regulation and food safety can help business owners and managers learn more about different sales channels and how they work so participants can ultimately decide if there is an untapped sales channel that is right for their business. Each workshop is customized to local interests with subjects ranging from market channel opportunities, food regulations, food safety, pricing for profit, packaging and labelling. Participants will also learn where to get more information and support.
Your business might benefit from selling to a local grocery store or other retailer, a restaurant or public sector organization like a university or school nutrition program. The key is to invest few hours to learn about different market opportunities and what customers expect. The Selling Food to Ontario workshop is available: March 2nd in Smiths Falls, March 3rd in Renfrew and March 9th in Vineland. Space is limited for this free workshop so register today at http://www.ontario.ca/chbi.