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Women and Girls: An online marketplace for shopping local

Introducing to Thunder Bay is a multi-vendor online marketplace with a local touch. Think Amazon, but for the local market carrying your beloved products from the local vendors.

Introducing to Thunder Bay is a multi-vendor online marketplace with a local touch. Think Amazon, but for the local market carrying your beloved products from the local vendors. Mylocalism, an initiative to support local, is the brainchild of Pam Tallon, who after 11 years of being a strong supporter of going local realized the absence of an online multi-vendor platform to shop local.

Pam Tallon surveyed around 130 consumers to understand the community’s preferences in shopping. The survey concluded that only around 10 per cent of the consumer’s preferring to shop from vendor’s individual website. To bridge the gap for the local vendors missing out, Tallon developed an online multi-vendor platform, much like the beloved Amazon.

“Everyone knows and loves Amazon for the convenience. The platform is product centric, so as a consumer, even if you’re unaware of where to buy a product you’re searching for, Amazon provides an easy database for your product from different vendors. And the best part about such a platform is, you can browse and place an order any time of the day. While this is great, most online platforms like Amazon doesn’t cater to the local shoppers. Which is why I wanted to develop this website. It will have a local connection to the people as opposed to these giant warehouses. People in Thunder Bay support local economy passionately, however, most people don’t have the luxury of time due to odd and long hours. As small vendors, it is a challenge to meet customers. This platform could provide a local marketplace for those supporting local,” Tallon says.

When would we get to shop from this convenient website? Consumers can soon shop from the website by logging into from the end of April. The website was initially set to launch for the holiday season, however, after minor setbacks, the website will launch in the Spring of 2022. Vendors willing to list their products on the marketplace would be able to pre-register for the vendor listing that opens on April 4.

While the website would not be ready for the public yet on this date, it will get the ball rolling for a smooth efficient shopping experience when the website launches for the public. Aside from the age-old marketing tools, mylocalism is aiming for billboard displays on May 1, which will get the larger audience’s attention, and hopefully give momentum to the ‘Support Local’ mindset in the community.

Any project will have its setbacks. With a small dream team, this website has been in the works for around 10 and a half months by a team of three. One of the obstacles Tallon has anticipated upon launching is getting vendors to see the benefits, from saving marketing budget to time, and have them register in this platform. The Thunder Bay Economic Development Commission has granted 5,000 CAD towards developing this business, and the operations will remain self-funded for the time being.

“The Startup company plus platform was great, and grateful for the support we received from the CEDC. We are looking at applying for the Northern Ontario Innovation grant and applying for other business grants after some time in the business, as we continue to grow. We are hoping to introduce gift cards to shop local and add wish lists to support the wedding and baby shower registries upon launch and expansion. We have watched trends shift, and we show a lot of interest in our local economy, so we wanted to do something Amazon doesn’t: give back to the community. Once we have a positive profit, we have a business plan to give around 5 per cent of the profits back to the grassroot community, so that the money keeps circulating within the community. We want to keep this a positive platform for the vendors and those supporting the local economy. We are super excited, and I believe that the biggest win is for the community,” says Pam Tallon.

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