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An Interview With Toronto Market Company

As we all know, Canada is currently under a second lockdown. However, we should never stop supporting small businesses! Toronto Market Company, founded by Melissa Zuker, aims to connect customers with local businesses. Even with the hindrance of a global pandemic, it has done a great deal to support these companies. In this article, we have interviewed Melissa to take a look at her insight and journey.


Image is courtesy of Toronto Market Company.


Before the pandemic, Toronto Market Company originally opened up a market called Adelaide Eats at Bay Adelaide Centre: Arnell Plaza, 333 Bay Street, Toronto. Every summer, from sweet to savoury, this market opens for everyone to enjoy dishes by restaurants, local chefs and food entrepreneurs all around Toronto in one market. The farmers market section also features local goods, artisanal products to stock up your pantry. Due to the coronavirus, it did not do any in-person market in 2020. Currently, Toronto Market Company turns into a virtual market that allows you to find your local favourites. Orders can be placed weekly till Sunday for Thursday delivery or pickup at 369 Dupont in Toronto. The website is organized into different categories such as vendors, themes, pantry, fresh food, restaurants and beverages to provide you with the best shopping experience. You can even purchase gift cards for your friends. There is a wide variety of products, including homemade granola, dipping sauces, jam, pastries or sausages. There are dishes that suit everyone, including vegetarians and people with nut allergies. It has been featured on CBC, CTV News, BlogTo, Toronto Life, and many more.


1. How and why did you start your website?


Toronto Market Co. started in 2014, doing pop-up and indoor holiday markets, food markets and farmers markets. The website started out with a need to pivot our in-person markets to online. We launched in June 2020, and it was so well received we decided to stick with it and continue. It has been great to be able to create avenues for local small businesses to connect with customers.


When she was interviewed by CBC News and CTV News, Melissa said,

There are a huge variety of things that you wouldn’t necessarily find in grocery stores, but you would sort of find them at a market and this an amazing marketplace online that just makes it easy to find all these things in one checkout and supports a variety of local small businesses...We really want to try to connect customers with local goods that may otherwise not know about, or it may be hard to have access to.

2. What impacts have you made on local businesses after you have set up?


We run the site like a weekly market. Customers can place their orders till 11:59 PM Sunday for a Thursday delivery or pickup. Most of the items are grocery-style items, pantry food that can be re-heat at home, and vendors we would have worked with at our summer markets. Local small businesses have been thankful to have an easy way to connect with customers.


3. How has COVID affected you and the local businesses you have worked with?


COVID has been really hard for many businesses. So many of us have had to be really innovative and work harder (essentially starting new businesses and revenue streams). Many of our restaurant partners have been greatly affected as they are limited to take out only.


4. Do you think there is an increased awareness of supporting locals?


There definitely is an increased awareness right now to support locals over the holiday season. I hope this continues into January and the darker days of lockdown ahead!


5. What are your future plans?


We want to continue to grow our online platform. We currently work with 100 local vendors, and we want to be able to increase our reach and vendor base. We love showcasing the best of Toronto, and we want to continue to do that!



This digital market offers chances to shop local artisanal goods. You can fill up your pantry and fridge weekly with just a few clicks. In the future, pop-up and virtual markets can possibly run at the same time. While seemingly overmatched against the big boys like Walmart and Amazon, people like Melissa continue to support local businesses while keeping everyone safe. If you are a small business, feel free to reach out to them!


References


Adelaide Eats. www.adelaideeats.com/.

“Pandemic Creates Push to Support Local, Small Businesses.” CBC News, 26 Nov. 2020,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGH2qfA5zns.

“Toronto Bag Project Helps Struggling Businesses.” CTV News Toronto, 21 Nov. 2020,

toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2082288.

Toronto Market Co. torontomarket.co/.


Article Author: Michelle Lam

Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Victoria Huang

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