Fourth Generation Grain Mill Launches A Successful Online Store
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have taken up the same quarantine hobby: baking. Whether it’s watching a fresh loaf of sourdough rise and bubble in the oven, or licking the last bit of cookie dough off the spatula, baking gives a sense of comfort and normalcy during these uncertain times. As the main ingredient in any baked good, the quality of flour is crucial in determining the success of the end result. This is why Ottawa Valley Grain Products (OVGP) has taken over 90 years to perfect their flour milling technology, and hold their flour products to the highest standard.
OVGP was founded in 1929, when founder Nat Lindsay purchased a small flour mill in Renfrew, Ontario. The business then expanded to include registered seed sales, feed manufacturing, and barley and grain processing. As a fourth-generation custom grain mill, OVGP understands the value of integrity, hard work, loyalty, and quality products. Grains are sourced directly from farms in and around the Ottawa Valley by sourcing only all-natural products, OVGP remains true to its heritage of nutritious and wholesome grains to Canadians.
Due to the pandemic baking craze, OVGP was met with an explosive demand for their flour and grain products. This allowed them to see the shortcomings of their current website and shipping capacity. This is why Kevin, the owner of OVGP, signed up for the ShopHERE Powered by Google Program to help expand the business and meet the increased demand. Kevin was matched with eCommerce Coordinator Asmaa, who guided him through the entire website building process.
“Our representative was very helpful in setting up the store and walking us through various options. Asmaa took the time to find the best solutions (shipping rates and options) and made sure everything was to our satisfaction. We feel comfortable for the future growth of our business and have the tools and knowledge to move forward confidently.”
Together with the ShopHERE Program, a functional and user-friendly eCommerce website was built on Shopify. The new online store allows for customers to easily make purchases and navigate through many different pages. Most importantly, OVGP is now able to ship its products across Canada and reach customers it wasn’t able to reach before.
“The [website building] process was easy. Working with our own eCommerce Coordinator was extremely helpful. Through each step of building the store, the plans were laid out and we knew exactly what we needed to do to move forward. Our Coordinator was always there to answer questions and help with any troubleshooting. Each step to build the store was accompanied by helpful how-to videos and detailed instructions. The new online store is very user-friendly from the backend and for our customers. I can't say enough good things about the process to build the online store – it was great!”
With bigger plans of expansion in Canada, OVGP now has the means to get its products directly to customers’ doorsteps. With the tools and knowledge provided by the ShopHERE Program, OVGP continues to grow its online presence through active posting on their social media channels including Instagram. Kevin thoroughly enjoyed the website building process and recommends the ShopHERE Program to all other small businesses looking to get online.
“Some small businesses may be hesitant to move online or think it's a massive project or undertaking and worried about maintaining it. The ShopHERE Program made things easy and you are supported. The time of the eCommerce experts is invaluable and anyone thinking of moving online, should not hesitate to enroll in the program! My advice to other businesses in this pandemic is to be nimble. Don't get set into one channel or solution. Be adaptive and don't be afraid of change.”
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.