Two teenage entrepreneurs are turning a city on lockdown into an opportunity to connect local businesses with self-isolating homes across Guelph. If you’re missing a daily or weekly visit to your favourite shops because you’re in self-isolation, reprieve may be as close at hand as your internet browser or smart phone.
Josh Gray was studying international business at Carleton University when physical classes were canceled last week, and like thousands of students across the country, his education moved online. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Genevieve Sutherns was on a gap year and was forced to cut her traveling short as the spread of COVID-19 intensified worldwide and the Canadian government warned against travel.
Back together again, and with no where to go, the couple started thinking about what they could do to help, and over the course of 36 hours Gray and Sutherns went from their first brainstorming session to implanting their idea to bring area foodstuffs to your home, Guelph Box.
Each $99 box is uniquely based on vendor supply, and many of the boxes feature select items like a book from a local author or a tote bag from Red Brick Cafe in addition to food. Other potential products include a summer sausage from Thatchers Farm, squares from With the Grain, bread from Polestar Hearth, locally-made red pepper jelly or freshly ground coffee.
Gray, 19, and Sutherns, 17, told Guelph Politico that they were overwhelmed by support when they first launched, and they’ve found that residents are buying boxes for themselves, and them coming back to Guelph Box to buy one for others.
“We have received lots of encouragement and support from our customers and have had numerous people purchase boxes to send to their healthcare workers as well as their immuno-compromised relatives who aren’t able to leave the house,” the pair said via email.
And yes, the young business owners are making sure to take every precaution in their process, from procurement of the items to delivery to your front door.
“When interacting with the local vendors we will be wearing protective gear and we are delivering without contact with the customers to ensure no risk of transmission,” they added. “Everyone who is ever in contact with the box has not traveled abroad recently and is well educated on the measures that must be taken to ensure everyone is staying safe,” they added.
If you’re looking for endorsements, one of GuelphBox’s early customers is Ward 2 City Councillor Rodrigo Goller, himself in self-isolation after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, and who’s now looking forward to his next round of deliveries from Guelph Box this Wednesday.
“The ordering experience was great,” he told Politico on Saturday, noting that the use of PayPal made it easy. “There was no detailed information about how much of each thing we get, so it’s also a bit of a surprise.”
You can learn more about Guelph Box, or give in a try for yourself, by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Josh Gray and Genevieve Sutherns file photo provided by GuelphBox.