As small retailers and producers in Nova Scotia feel the economic effects of a decline in tourism and fewer people venturing into shops, a local subscription box business has launched to help them reach new markets.
Community Haul is the brainchild of Matt Symes, CEO of Symplicity Designs, who recognized that small businesses are significantly affected by the pandemic economic downturn and wanted to develop a new sales channel to showcase some of Nova Scotia’s most unique businesses. His vision was to connect a strong community desire to support local businesses with an easy solution to do just that.
“With Community Haul we set out to create a safe and fun way to help the small business community through the next year. Our product forges a connection, creates community, and offers subscribers the opportunity to explore the best of Nova Scotia - all from the safety of their homes,” Symes said. Symes explained only 66 percent of Nova Scotia small businesses have successfully reopened after the pandemic. Of those businesses, only 23 percent are back to normal pre-pandemic sales.
Community Haul subscribers will receive a gift box containing 5-7 locally sourced and produced goods each month. The goal is to support more than 100 local Nova Scotia businesses with bulk orders and to donate a portion of all sales to the IWK Foundation to help families in the region.
“For the IWK, it truly is about being the children’s hospital of the Maritime community and that is why it’s so fitting that the IWK Foundation is the charity of choice for the Nova Scotia Community Haul subscription boxes,” said Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation. “This initiative will be supporting local businesses at a time when it’s needed most and, we are so grateful during these unprecedented times, that they have also chosen it as a way to give back to others. The support we receive through this will have a lasting impact on the patients and families that rely on the IWK.”
The box will feature the best Nova Scotia has to offer, including beautiful art and craft pieces, clothing, specialty foods, and pet products. The packaging is beautifully designed with whimsical images of Nova Scotia iconic imagery like fiddles, lighthouses, cups of tea and anchors.
Community Haul has curated products from some of Nova Scotia’s best and most unique vendors and producers, including East Coast Lifestyle (locally designed clothing), Made with Local (homemade, locally sourced granola & snacks), OLGA Designs (botanical skincare), Pineapple Sweets & Co. (gourmet cotton candy), Drunken Sailor (donair spice), Inkwell Designs (specialty printed paper and handmade items), Phee’s Original Goods (leather products) and Sock it to Ya’! (fashion socks, legwear and accessories)
"As makers we put our hearts and souls into what we create, but our current world situation has brought new challenges when it comes to reaching new local customers,” said Alison Brown Dolmont, owner of OLGA Designs. “With its subscribers, the Community Haul project is a perfect opportunity to expand locally and increase the word-of-mouth momentum that is essential to our growth. The more people who know what’s being made in their own towns and cities, the better".
Community Haul subscription boxes will be available for $52 per box for a one-year subscription, or $60 per box for a more flexible subscription that allows you to cancel before the year ends. $5 from every box will be donated to the IWK Foundation. The boxes will be assembled and mailed by Dartmouth Adult Services Centre, an organization that employs adults with intellectual disabilities.
About Symplicity Designs (symplicity.ca)
Symplicity Designs is a leading organizational design firm based out of Atlantic Canada. The company uses the principles, methods, and tools of performance excellence to help businesses grow and navigate crisis. Symplicity’s mission is to make the world a better place, one organization at a time, focused in Atlantic Canada. The company has worked with 400+ clients in the Atlantic provinces and across Canada, maintaining its focus on training, transforming, and transitioning businesses to enable them to improve, innovate, and grow.