Take Me Home, eCommerce Roads: The Journey of Rock Front Family Farm
Jackie and Tyler Bernier, owners of Sioux Lookout's Rock Front Family Farm, began developing the idea for a sustainable regenerative farm when Tyler was forced to change careers due to serious health issues. Determined to be closer to home with family and to help their community access more healthy food options, this husband-and-wife team took shovel to soil and hand to keyboard to start up a flourishing family-owned and operated small business.
Just over two years ago, Jackie and Tyler Bernier came to the decision to develop a lifestyle to support their family’s journey to healthier living while also addressing the lack of local food options in their community. Nourishing the community and planet through fresh, locally grown food and sustainable farming practices quickly emerged as the mission for Rock Front Family Farm (RFFF), a small business that has grown to serve over 50 families each week in and around Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
Microgreens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available, and Jackie and Tyler soon found that they could grow and offer them on a weekly basis for their family and community. The results were amazing. Jackie and Tyler had tremendous support from their community, so they decided to develop a microgreens subscription service that would be fully customizable, affordable, and convenient for others looking to make healthier choices.
Today, RFFF’s grown fresh-to-order microgreens are among their farm store’s best sellers, in addition to a variety of plant shoots, beneficial grasses, and free-run eggs.
If the stories behind Rock Front Family Farm’s mission so far were the lyrics to a great song, the ShopHERE powered by Google program helped take it to the next level with all the right chords.
“It is expensive and intimidating to have a web developer build an online presence for your small business. This program allows small business owners to work side-by-side with a Coordinator that adheres to your needs and desires that fit well for your online web store and values. There are many options to choose between that fit in each individual business model. The customer service is amazing and we definitely recommend any small business to enroll in this program.”
Digital Main Street offers a fresh take on the often stressful and tiresome task of building an eCommerce site from scratch through supports like the ShopHERE program and more. Participating businesses can access one-on-one support with creating a free website.
Having now completed the ShopHERE program, Jackie and Tyler encourage other small business owners to sign up as the process is
“Easy, convenient, and will help boost sales as well as increase the continuity of your relationships with your customers. We believe in the past two months we have felt more connected to our local market and have had increased interest in our offerings thanks to the ShopHERE program.”
The ShopHERE program also provides small business owners with peace of mind with a website that can grow to meet the changing needs of their business. Each of ShopHERE’s partner platforms are hand-picked with flexibility and scalability in mind. For Jackie and Tyler, this meant that the website they left the ShopHERE program with has the capability to support a growing range of product offerings and showcase new collaborations with local producers and businesses:
“We also own a 20-acre parcel of land that we are soon developing to expand our operations in the near future, and we are also refining our skills to become a full-time market garden that offers up over 30 different types of fruits and vegetables, gluten-free baked goods, and free-run chicken eggs. [The ShopHERE program was] very beneficial, in the way it helped saved us time from trying to find the right platform to utilize.”
ShopHERE’s team of eCommerce Coordinators work hard to fit seamlessly into each small business’ story. Small business owners today already carry enough weight in managing the day-to-day and strategic aspects of their company, which is why eCommerce Coordinators go the extra mile to ensure participants feel supported throughout their time in the program.
“The customer service was fantastic and [my eCommerce Coordinator was] very helpful in answering any questions or concerns that I had. Maria was fantastic. She always had simple solutions to my concerns and was always very kind, helpful and very professional. Thank you, Maria!”
To learn more about Rock Front Family Farm, check out their website here. If you’re interested in getting started on the road to eCommerce with your small business and want to learn more about the ShopHERE program, please click 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, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.