A Money Coach in Canada

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I’m here at the Entrepreneur’s Business Growth Group, and the guest speaker is from SPUD SPUD– small potatoes urban delivery. I use them — one of the things I spend extra money on (ie organic, lots of local ) instead of the usual grocery stores. Over the year, I’m sure it costs a chunk more (retraction! see notes below), but I want my dollars to go towards: food that is less gm, more local and better for this body of mine.

This isn’t quite ‘live blogging’ as I’d hoped (taking a lesson from Miss 604), but I am typing this on location, and as I hear it and will upload when I get to some wifi!


Darren Stot (with a tantalizing table piece – massive bowl of gorgeous fruit. hmmm…. for decor only? – Later — nope, we got to sample!)Cezanne Fruit

Darren’s been with SPUD for 4 years; SPUD is 9 years, founded by David.

Cool factoids:
SPUD started with: 5 customers, 1 farmer, 2 staff.
Now: 100 staff, 10million rev/year, over 100 farmers, over 5000 customers in vancouver, 7000 across 4 locations. Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Seattle. Plan to be in 20 cities over next 10 years. Some have challenged them, “big is bad!” to which they reply: The more that buy from SPUD, the greater impact on environment.

Triple Bottom Line: People.Profit.Planet

Primarily, it’s a Grocery delivery business.
yes, they have a List of Banned Ingredients. eg. nitrates (huh? I’m clueless- don’t know what they are or why they Ought To Be Banned)

potatoes AND
household cleaners
local bakeries, pizzas
ethical bean coffee (some questions are dumb. I asked one. I asked why we buy coffee grown on saltspring at the expense of our neighbours in the south. he explained the beans aren’t grown on saltspring; the beans are processed there. and if you want to go hardcore ethics, choose Cafe Etico = non profit, direct relationship with farmers)

Meat products = humanely reared, organic note: free range can have antibiotics. They sell only organic.

Produce = certified organic
Everything = local (processed here)

speaking of ‘local’, referenced BALLE. Business Alliance for Local, Living Economies.
org that connects local businesses – who then support each other.

Because they sell groceries, but are not safeway/iga, by definition they are a Challenger Brand which requires different marketing, eg. trucks are purple. They do inhouse pr, including guerilla stunts – got a coffin, put a shopping cart in it, had a ceremony on VAG = press

They were first grocery delivery company to turn a profit in north american.

Why? because delivering a unique product, ie, straight from the farm. Kept it small.
Customer loyalty: because sustainable, recycle, etc., customers love them, and stick with you.

The Lovemarks Effect: Winning In The Consumer Revolution

is a book describing how some businesses cause their clients to fall in love with them – cbc, vancity VanCity

(ahem. Apple)- people just love these companies because of what they do. because they invest in the community. 60% of new customers came from present customers. fanbase.

It’s the same price as purchasing organic food from a store.

Question: does organic food go bad quicker?
Answer: yes. so buy it every week and make sure you eat it all!
on the other hand, you get it more fresh, since it’s local.

Q: what are those ‘green bags’ that keep things fresher, longer.
A: don’t know they name, but they work. As fruit goes off, they release ethene gas which makes fruit go bad. Don’t keep bananas or apples anywhere near other fruit.

side tip: Don’t put tomatoes in fridge.

Q: are your dairy products organic?

A. 80% yes; 20% no. and yes, Soya, unsweetened. Yes, rice milk.

attracts certain people. 8 managers. each one could double money elsewhere, but committed to what SPUD is about. Grocery business = slim margins.
brainstorming. involved in decisions. give ideas on csr. Victoria warehouse: took it on themselves to have ZERO waste. Every single thing is recycled or composted. No waste, at all, leaves the warehouse.

Social purchasing portal = group of businesses that, for example, will employ from downtown eastside. If you do that, other businesses will use you as a business.
For example, VanCity buys from SPUD explicitly because they have hired people from downtown east side.

Students/Interns want to research projects. Advice on how to be more efficient by engineering student; marketing student gave marketing ideas; business students from BCIT gave ideas on retaining customer loyalty.

Biofuels: can come from recycling waste or from cornfields in brazil. Trouble with latter is cornfields get grown for fuel, not food. Chop down rain forests. and you’re still burning carbons. so not always wonderful.

Stat: delivery companies use 95% less energy than a grocery store, they are that more efficient.

1 truck drives efficiently to 100 homes, instead of 100 people driving to grocery store.

also, takes 8 minutes to shop online instead of 1 hr to go to store and back.

…and that was that! informative, and I discovered, frankly, how little I know about the world of organic food, ethics and the food industry etc. Perhaps I’ve been letting myself off easy, hoping SPUD will do the thinking for me.

Also in the group were

Blaise MacClayne, and Teya France (founder of EBBG) who do phone marketing B-2-B

Chris Sturgess, Freedom 55

Diane DeVie, bookkeeper

Kassandra Harfield iris imaging/metabolic typing

Katrina Smith of Thrive Chiropractic Wellness Centre

Robert Wood, lifecoach.

It’s a hard thing, being ‘content’ in this culture of ours.

FurnitureToday I leafed through Martha Stewart Living magazine and saw image after image representing the life I wish I had.
Beautifully outfitted women.

Spacious character homes perfectly appointed.

500-thread-count egyptian sheets.


I live in Vancouver. I have a small (but full of character) condo in the gritty neighbourhood of gastown. I saw those images, and longed for
that idealized lifestyle. “Why”, I wondered, “don’t I have a wardrobe full of perfect clothes?” “Will I ever,” I wondered, “be able to purchase a
large character home in Vancouver, given the market?” and “When will I too be taking semi-annual trips to Europe? Or I’d settle even for annual ones!” Frustration, resentment and discouragement set in.

Two hours later, I was overlooking the ocean and the northshore wooded mountains, in the Barnett Marine Park – a best kept Vancouver secret.
With me were my 2 daschunds, and my closest male friend, an intelligent, loyal, extremely interesting friend who loves me through thick and thin.
A seal caught a fish right in front of us and feasted in full view.
We ourselves ate prosciutto, spicy olives and ferrero rocher chocolates.
It was 90 minutes of heaven on earth.

Love. Pets. Clean (reasonably) air. A place that is ‘home’ regardless of the size.

These things are priceless.

This fall, my renewed praxis is to begin each and every day with a moment of reflection of all that is good, meaningful and satisfying in my life, right now, exactly as it is. It’s not easy to reorient myself towards what is priceless (how crazy, that that should be hard!), but I commit to centering myself in all that is priceless in my life. (and if anyone wishes to send me a Talbot’s gift card, I’ll happily accept that too.)

Question: What is priceless in your life?

Most of us do what we do, in part because we need to practice what we preach. I’m no exception. I deeply desire to be as wise, savvy and strategic as possible with my money. And authentically help others to be so.

For me, part of this means being physically organized.

True confession: my receipt bin has gone all to hell, and the more full it gets, the more I avoid dealing with it. Over August, I must have accumulated at least 7 – 10 hours of work.

In short, I’ve been procrastinating.

One of the things I’ve learned from a marvellous book titled “The Now Habit” (to which I’d link, on abe.com, but don’t want wordpress to mistake this as a commercial blog!) is a trick to stop procrastinating. It’s this: instead of focussing on the end result (in my case, a cleaned out receipt bin) which can be overwhelming right off the bat, we can focus on various entrance points. For instance, one starting place could be to separate my business from personal receipts. Another entrance point could be just diving in for 15 minutes today. Another entrance point could be sifting through for the important stuff.

ExhuberanceSo, I’m committed to diving in! (I’m moving on the 3rd choice if anyone’s interested).

What are you struggling with procrastination on?

Care to join me in a “Getting Started” week?

This isn’t really a case study, but CNN Money. did such a terrific – dare I say, elegant – job in coming up with 20 timeless money rules, that we’ll hold off on the case study til next week, in favour of this. Note it’s not the usual stuff. The various rules are by the likes of Cervantes, Confusius, Coco Chanel and Augustine.

For example, here’s rule #14 based on a principle of Eleanor Roosevelt:

14. Just do it

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.–Eleanor Roosevelt

Financial planning is an unnatural act. The brain is wired to make us undervalue long-term goals and exaggerate the cost of short-term sacrifice. Yet studies show that people who do even a little retirement planning had twice the savings of those who did almost none. Heed the words attributed to Mrs. Roosevelt by doing the following:
Set concrete, attainable goals. “I’ll pay an extra $100 a month on my credit card” is more likely to succeed than “I’m going to get my act together.”
Then commit. Tell someone your plan and agree to a penalty–you’ll do your spouse’s chores for a month if you haven’t saved $10,000 extra by June.

(and if you want some help on keeping your financial goals, send me an e-mail at nancy at your money by design dot com)

For the rest of the rules, visit 20 timeless money rules.

I need your help! My holiday plans (trip to Oregon) unexpectedly fell through. So, I’m going to have a ‘tourist in my own hometown’ (of Vancouver) holiday for the next couple weeks. I want to deeply unwind, rediscover vancouver, but also not break the bank. Ideas I have include:

  • day trip to Whistler with a friend
  • Festival Vancouver concert 1/2 price tix, day of concertVancouver Public Library
  • Spend all day at the library (I’m a nerd! and I never get to go there)
  • Monet/Dali exhibit
  • PNE on Saturday (free day!)
  • Book (suggestions? intelligent trash, if possible) and blanket on a beach

Any other suggestions for me?

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