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Helping Local Small Businesses One Box at a Time

March 31, 2020 3 min read

Helping Local Small Businesses One Box at a Time

There's a new little box in town, and she means business!

Born out of the need to bring the community delicious and essential goods, without having to leave their home, Guelph Box is the new project from two Guelph teenagers that is changing the way we stay connected (and supported!) during COVID-19.


cheese and charcuterie

Many local businesses have had to close their doors due to the Emergency Act put in place by Ontario, and the Canadian Government as we continue to fight COVID-19. Urging folks to stay home has never been more important, but as a result many local shops have struggled with how to stay afloat. With traffic no longer coming through the door, some have taken to online shops while others have moved to delivery or curb-side pickup. Not to mention, many have had to close completely because they don't offer government deemed essential services.

& then came Guelph Box. An amazing selection (of mainly edible items) from local small businesses delivered right on your doorstep. A little glimpse of sunshine in what seems like a dreary and uncertain storm.

homemade bread

Guelph Box is a curated selection of items delivered contactless straight to your door. Done on a pre-order system, boxes are coordinated, handpicked and assembled by duo Genevieve and Josh, and then delivered weekly by a team of  volunteers. Each box's contents are a surprise, although the vendors are revealed ahead of time. The boxes get changed up every week, so there's always something new. Guelph Box takes a minimal profit to cover costs, but the majority goes directly back to the vendors involved!

stay home stay safe

Curious to know more, we chatted with Genevieve about the project!

tell us a little bit about yourselves...

I'm 17 years old and was raised here in Guelph. I am always looking for adventure and absolutely love travel, food, and trying new things. I've been travelling on and off since September as part of a gap year before I'll be going to UBC to study science and business.

My partner Josh is 19 years old. He was born and raised here in Guelph too. He currently attends Carleton University where he's studying International Business with a major in Finance and a minor in German. 

what were you both up to before returning home to Guelph?

Before coming back to Guelph, I was travelling in France when I found out I had to come home six weeks early due to the virus. Josh was studying at Carleton and then came back when all his classes were moved online for the rest of the semester. 

how did the inspo for Guelph Box start?

Josh had an idea to create a grocery delivery service for elderly people during this time as he really wanted to help those in need and have a new project. We built more and more on that idea until we eventually decided to do a local focussed box. Not necessarily containing your weekly groceries, but more so to support small businesses and encourage people to stay home. It was a joint effort between us and our families, and over the course of 36 hours we went from hypothetically creating a grocery service to launching our website for the project!

what are you hoping to achieve with Guelph Box?

Our goal for Guelph Box is to create a way for small local businesses to continue to sell their products while also encouraging people to stay home. We want to help alleviate some of the stress during this time by adding a way for businesses to continue to get orders even at this time. 

what has the response to Guelph box been like so far?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we are so thankful to live in such a community focussed city. We have gotten many messages from people expressing their thanks for a delightful surprise of items and also from vendors who are struggling at this time. We have people offering their help to us daily and our sales keep growing! 

what is the future of Guelph box? will it live beyond the pandemic?

Honestly at this point we aren't sure what the future looks like as we are taking it day by day. We are open to this possibility but want to focus on helping businesses during the pandemic for the time being. 

what are some other ways folks can support small businesses?

We encourage other folks to support small businesses by purchasing gift cards, ordering products online, and sharing the love on social platforms. A little can go a long way for business owners. We are so encouraged by the community's response to our box that we are confident people are willing to help in any way that they can.

shop local sign

To support Guelph Box, and the amazing local vendors involved, head to their website!

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