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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!

Speaker:

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.

REGARDING STAFF
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.

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

3 Comments

  1. wow, delivery takes 95% less energy. is that really true? that’s mind boggling.

    actually, i’d be interested in your opinion on that. both my husband and i are picky and frugal shoppers – we want to get exactly what we want, at the lowest price possible. usually, a combination of buy-low, superstore and local veggie stores does the trick.

    would that be possible with something like SPUD?

    [Reply]

    Sep 11, 2007
  2. kinda depends. It saves me time. It saves me travel, and gas etc.
    If you are frugal at veggie stores etc., Spud may likely be pricier (it’s organic, so needs to be compared literally organic-apples to organic-apples).
    It is flexible, though – each week I choose what I want to receive. Delivery is free if it exceeds $35 which mine always does. Could I save by shopping at SunRise down the road? yup – but, Spud gives me consistently good quality, organic week in week out. I also buy enviro-friendly laundry soap, t.p from recycled paper, chocolate bars etc. If I lived in a different ‘hood, close to shops, I don’t know if I would switch back to walking to shops. But for now, Spud is working for me, supplemented with costco.

    [Reply]

    Sep 11, 2007
  3. thanks for the write up Nancy and great meeting you at the presenation. Just to clarify a couple of points:
    Here is a link to information on how grocery delivery companies use alot less energy than grocery stores http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/10/31/heres-the-plan/
    see point no. 10.
    Nitrates and nitrates are on our banned list of ingredients because of a possible link to cancer. These can be found in pates and preserved meats such as sliced ham.

    [Reply]

    Sep 12, 2007

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