Calgary-based Wild Tea Kombucha has launched a collaborative one-stop online shop to provide shoppers with easy access to food and beverage and other products from a number of local businesses.
The new ecommerce platform, which is being powered by WTK founders Emily Baadsvik, the company CEO, and Brigette Freel, its COO, have lined up a number of businesses to join the network as consumers change their shopping habits due to social distancing and store closures brought on by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“Brigette and I were just brainstorming ways once we knew the pandemic was becoming the real thing and we quickly saw the effects of all trends and businesses closing or having restricted hours,” said Baadsvik. “So we immediately wanted to do something to bring awareness to the small businesses in Calgary and try to bring extra sales because it’s the small businesses that don’t have the big multi-conventional distribution. We have to struggle to stay open.
“So basically just on an idea we texted a bunch of our local business friends and then immediately they all replied and it’s just grown organically from there.”
WTK, which has been in business since 2015, has a goal to add more local brands to the platform to simplify the shopping process for Calgary while also helping fellow business owners to stay afloat during these challenging times.
“We’d like to grow it. We haven’t really thought about putting any kind of cap on it yet. So anyone that’s interested is welcome to reach out to us and join us in this little endeavour,” said Baadsvik.
When asked if the concept might continue on when the pandemic is over and times return to a normal state, she said: “It’s going to be just play it by ear. I think that it just depends. If people continue to want home delivery, it’s something that we’re really glad to do and I think that collaborating with our friends and having more than one option besides Kombucha is just smart business.”
She said the initiative involves contactless delivery because the company is trying to limit the number of people that are coming to the facility and the contact with the outside world.
“We just want to help the small business community in Calgary,” said Baadsvik. “The thing is a lot of us don’t qualify for the benefits – the 75 per cent wage subsidy. You have to show that your business decreased by 30 percent and when you’re a small business you’re trying to grow every year. So it’s a bit of a weird situation. Even though our sales have gone down they haven’t gone down enough so we don’t qualify. So we have had to lay off some staff.
“Right now it’s just about survival and taking it day by day, week by week. So whatever we can do to lift each other up that’s all that matters.”
The businesses on the platform include:
Wild Tea Kombucha – bottled and canned kombucha and kombucha cider at wholesale, case lot pricing.
Micro YYC – Sustainably grown, nutritious micro greens.
Partake Brewing – Award winning, craft brewed non-alcoholic beer.
Pioneer Butchery & Charcuterie – Locally sourced, naturally raised meats.
Little Tucker – Guilt-free, plant powered snacks.
Nudefood Market Peanut Butter – All natural, sustainable and locally made peanut butter.
Five’21 Roasters – Locally roasted, organic coffee.
Torill’s Table – Norwegian style waffle and pancake mix.
Real Treat Cookies – Unapologetically delicious organic gourmet cookies.
Fitwave Protein Energy Balls – Plant based whole food energy balls.
Sangster’s, Glenmore Landing – High quality vitamins and supplements.
Ganesha Foods – Cold Ground Organic Spices.
Sarjesa – Beautifully crafted teas supporting women’s social programming.
Pilot’s Friend – Organic, natural energy tonic.