You might have seen the sponsored ads on Facebook and scrolled past. I assure you it's worth while checking out, especially in our new living reality with Covid -19 looming.
Personally I am from the old country. I grew up in Germany and lived in the Netherlands as a young adult and going to markets was one of the highlights of my day. Things change, we do and so does the market place. Many businesses are moving online and that's where Ballasters comes in, a new fast growing online market and free platform for farmers, fishers, harvesters and food producers in the Kootenays and beyond
I talked to the owners to bring you more details about this exciting online community service and hopefully answer some of your questions.
Here is what Geoff had to say:
"So myself, Geoff Austin, and Adam Pearl started Ballasters about a year and a half ago. We own Fisherman’s Market https://www.thefishermansmarket.ca/about.html and one of our head offices is in Nelson. Originally Ballasters was going to be used for the fishing industry. Fishermen would be able to sell directly to the consumer, but then Covid hit and we saw restaurants close, as well as local farmers markets. Being fishermen ourselves, we have always had a passion for harvesters and producers. We wanted to get them the exposure they deserve. So we build Ballasters as an online place where hard working local food people can display their websites and where E-commerce is all set up for them and they can enjoy free advertising to boot. Hard working farmers and business don’t have a lot of time and experience with these things.
We are lucky to have been able to spend a lot of our later business years doing such things, so here we are. It’s all free right now! No monthly fees! We have funded the entire project ourselves. I think, that starting in 2021, we will have to charge a few percent of sales in order to cover some of the advertising and staff expenses."
(How does it work? What is the benefit for the customer?)
"It's purely online and you basically buy directly from the vendor. You follow their pick up and delivery schedule. Drop ship locations and delivery companies are things we are working on, but for now we are happy just getting all these guys more exposure. Nowadays people like to shop online and it’s nice seeing all the local food around you in one place, with reviews and testimonials about the businesses. Our goal is to grow province wide, but we really just want the hard working people to have a voice and to have direct sales. They don’t need box stores and to drop their price or have things go to waste. For each of our vendors we have built something tailored to their business needs on the site. It’s been fun and it has been very well received by the community. That’s about all I got lol."
I am totally in awe and impressed by the passion for sustainable foods and the community-mindedness of these hard working folks.
It is beautiful to read about their dedication to this project on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ballasters/
Here's an excerpt: "Our desire... to see communities purchase the food they love, directly from the source. Ballasters offers vendors all the bells and whistles of modern e-commerce with little to no effort or addition to the workload. Vendors benefit from their own webpage, personalized to reflect the unique characteristics of their business, all the functions of e-commerce, a hub for social media, the back-end analytics businesses need to thrive and all of this is achieved with no monthly fees. Best of all, Ballasters, brings an entire community of food lovers that support local hard-working businesses like yours and puts them together in one place that is easy to use, shop, review and connect with one another. Ballasters is adding more and more businesses daily throughout the Kootenays and we would love to give local businesses a hand any way we can. We have worked with nearly a hundred different specialists throughout the food and beverage industry to build out specific areas on our platform, to help improve the experience for their specific industry. If you would like to be part of this please sign up and get started or reach out and we would be glad to give you a hand. https://ballasters.com/contact-us/ There is incredible strength in numbers, and together we are creating the ultimate shopping experience for people who care about what they eat and where it comes from."
A new tool for a better world...