ShopHERE Brings Authentic Homemade Goods Online
Laura Freel, commonly known as Lou, has transformed her family's traditions by combining her love of cooking with the legacy of entrepreneurship into 22 & Lou Authentic Preserves. “I grew up with a Gramma who was an amazing baker, her mother was incredible as well. I always loved cooking even from a young age and often watched cooking shows instead of cartoons. My grandfather's mother had a general store where she sold…well everything. I have always dreamed of combining the passions of these two great women.” She makes small batch preserves from her home in Toronto, Ontario including jams, jellies, barbecue sauces, chutneys, and marmalades. These delicious, artisanal products can be purchased for home, gifts or favours for weddings, showers or other parties, making them fun and unique gift ideas for any occasion!
“I had tried to build a website by myself on some of the free platforms offered and got overwhelmed and found them confusing.”
For small businesses like Laura’s, the bulk of sales come from seasonal markets, local shops, and word-of-mouth referrals. With the sudden, long-term closure of these venues due to COVID-19, the need to move 22 & Lou online became paramount to the survival of her business, and a stressful challenge. “I had tried to build a website by myself on some of the free platforms offered and got overwhelmed and found them confusing,” says Laura. Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE Powered by Google Program offers help in creating a website and eCommerce platform on Shopify, as well as training on how to change, operate, and market your online business. This offered Laura the right support she needed to move her business online.
Laura was partnered with an eCommerce Coordinator who, after collecting some information and content from Laura, created the skeleton of the 22 & Lou Authentic Preserves website. From there, the Coordinator walked Laura through how to manage and update the website herself, and Laura was able to fine-tune the website to her preference.
“With Ashika's help, and her showing me how to add things and change things, I was able to take over from the initial build of the website quite easily. Being able to link my social media accounts, and add a shipping option has opened up my business to more customers. Even after adding and changing some things, her feedback was great on how to make it look even better.”
Within a matter of weeks, Laura’s business was live, making 22 & Lou Authentic Preserves more accessible than ever before. “I was previously only able to do local delivery on my bike in order to keep my costs to myself and my customers low. With a partnership with Canada Post, it makes shipping affordable and easy to execute.” Now Laura’s delicious products, like her smooth and velvety Apple Butter, her sweet and spicy Mango Chutney, or her delectable Pineapple Jalapeno Jelly can be drooled over online and delivered right to your door.
“The hardest part is getting started, and my ShopHERE Coordinator did that with the website. It meant I was able to still work on my products, and thousands of other things that need to be done as a small business owner, while she did the initial setup.” Shop 22 & Lou Authentic Preserves here, and find out if your small business is eligible for the ShopHERE Program here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Southern Ontario.