Grocery delivery services have been in high demand since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Toronto, with many residents doing everything they can to avoid going out and contracting the virus.
But the increased demand means many services have struggled to keep up, and that's precisely why two Toronto designers decided to start their own grocery delivery business.
And they're not the only one.
Easypeasy Grocery Delivery was started by Jamie and Felicia Somerton, a brother-sister duo. Together they run a small design studio in Etobicoke called somerton creative. But now that their studio is on hiatus, they've decided to use their time and resources to be part of the solution.
"The current health crisis has put a pause on our workflow, so we got to thinking how we could put our time and resources to good use!" co-founder Jamie Somerton said in an email.
"All of the existing platforms like Grocery Gateway are at full capacity and can’t accommodate deliveries for a few weeks out. We recently finished a design project for Gambles (a produce distributor in Etobicoke) and we just had the lightbulb go off in our heads: 'Why don’t we contact them and see if they could supply our orders.' They thought the idea was wonderful and helped us secure supply at lightning speed."
The new delivery business is in soft launch as of today, and they're currently testing out delivery zones and demand.
"We’ve been securing orders this afternoon since launch, so that’s a great sign!" Somerton said.
Those who choose to order from the new service will receive the Fresh Essentials Kit, which is a $68 grocery box filled with fresh produce, pasta, eggs, bread, rice and more.
They source fresh produce from Gambles, and many of the products are home grown from Ontario farmers.
The new company is promising delivery within 24 to 48 hours without any delivery fee, but they're currently only delivering to those who live in South Oakville, Central/South Mississauga, South Etobicoke and West Toronto.
But Somerton said that could still change as they've already received several inquiries about delivering in the east.
He added that they've also reserved a certain amount of boxes for families who can't afford to pay for the box, to be provided at no cost.
"We realize that everybody is in a different situation right now and we are also reserving a number of kits for families and individuals in need at no cost," he said. "Those who need the service and can pay for the kit help us be able to give back in this way. "
When asked if he thinks there's any chance he and his sister will continue this business after the pandemic is over, Somerton said there's no way to know what the future holds.
"I think a lot of us small business owners are wondering what will happen to our existing businesses once we are on the other side of this pandemic," he said.
"We don’t know how long this is going to last and what the state of the economy is going to be like. There’s just a lot of uncertainty in general right now. However, we are so happy to be able to provide this service right now. It feels good to be part of something that is really helping the lives of people in the GTA."
by Mira Miller via blogTO