ELORA – A Wellington County branch of the national same-day order and delivery online platform Mrs. Grocery launched on July 15.
Customers of the service, which operates in 63 cities across Canada, are able to order items from small businesses and local farmers for delivery straight to their door.
Elora residents Todd and Dana Machin purchased the rights to operate Mrs. Grocery in Waterloo and Wellington as a business venture that would help other small businesses and local farms.
“I know how important it is to support your local shops, your local farmers and this model here, this platform really rang true to me with Mrs. Grocery, which is supporting local and shopping local,” Todd Machin told the Advertiser.
There are currently over 20 local vendors and over 800 products available on the Waterloo and Wellington extension of the website.
While Todd and Dana Machin officially own the rights to operate Mrs. Grocery in the Kitchener/Waterloo and Centre Wellington territories, the service rights reach further in Wellington County, including Arthur, Drayton, Moorefield and everything in between.
Small business and farmer vendors on the site include Thatcher Farms, Fraberts Fresh Food, Hoppy Fields Farm, Jewels Under The Kilt, Lau-tea-da Lentils, Eby Family Honey, Mapleton’s Maple Syrup and Stacey’s Homemade Goodies.
Customers can shop either by vendor, category or product online at centrewellington.mrsgrocery.com.
Orders, which can include multiple products at one time, must be made by 1pm to receive same-day delivery and can be paid for by cash, credit or debit on delivery.
There is a $10 delivery charge for products from one vendor and an additional $5 for products from every additional vendor in each order.
Residents outside the Wellington County Mrs. Grocery catchment area can still use the service, but they must pay double the delivery fee ($20 for the first vendor and $5 for each additional vendor on an order).
The service is offered six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.
Machin, who charges vendors 10% of sales made through the website, stated he does not mark up any of the products sold on the site.
Offering Mrs. Grocery in the Waterloo and Wellington areas has allowed small businesses and local farms to get in on the online order-delivery trend, Machin said.
He quit after working for 18 years as a project coordinator for a manufacturing company, then spent four months driving for Uber Eats in Guelph.
After witnessing what residents were willing to pay to have their food delivered, Machin looked for a way to take the idea to small businesses when he came across the Mrs. Grocery franchise.
“Buying local reduces the amount of taxing needed to bring you fresh goods; there is also less fuel used to transport the product so that’s just a couple reasons there,” said Machin.
It also provides Wellington residents unable or unwilling to travel the opportunity to get local produce and to support small businesses in their area.
“Buying local is just the best way to get your produce and meats – the freshest product you could possibly get,” he added.
For Mapleton’s Maple Syrup farmer and business owner Onias Metzger, becoming a Mrs. Grocery vendor made good business sense.
“I thought we could sell some maple syrup to the consumer that way straight from the farm without me doing a lot of advertising,” said Metzger.
While he has yet to receive an order through the site, he and neighbouring local business Eby Family Honey in Moorefield liked the idea and joined Mrs. Grocery at the same time.
“My neighbour signed up for honey and he thought I should sign up for the maple syrup, so that’s what we did,” he said.
Metzger says he hopes that as the local branch of Mrs. Grocery gains more publicity his business will satisfy a market for maple syrup.
According to Machin, residents in Waterloo and Wellington are already using the service. Speaking to the Advertiser last week, he said he has received a few orders each week since the launch.
“So far, so good. With the customers I have delivered to so far, I have had nothing but positive feedback, I am very excited to have the service available here,” said Machin.
Already the Machins plan to extend their coverage area to Cambridge and all the way up to Owen Sound, Port Elgin, Southampton, Kincardine and Hanover.
For now, however, Machin said they are focused on growing the franchise in Waterloo and Wellington County to support their local community.
“We are so privileged to have so many great options with local growers and businesses that provide a wonderful selection of locally grown produce,” said Machin. “For us it’s just important that our community continues to support our local merchants and help sustain our growth in our own backyard.”
He added, “We love our community and we want to see our local businesses and farmers succeed … [that’s]the bottom line of where we want to go with it here.”