Shop Local

Sep 28, 2020 Dan

This month Back To The Bone is celebrating 10 years in business!  What a ride it has been.  Donna and I have been looking back at our journey and with everything going on around us today, we felt it was important to highlight the importance of supporting small, local, and independently owned businesses.

These last 6 months have been quite the ride.  The world-wide pandemic has had a drastic impact on so many individuals and families.  The economic consequences have been, and will be, significant.  Throughout the summer, we have had many customers tell us that they have changed their shopping habits to support, as best they can, small local businesses.  This pandemic has raised consumer awareness to the power of supporting small businesses in their community.  More on that later.

When we started Back To The Bone 10 years ago, Donna and I made a very conscious decision to merchandise our store with Canadian products as best we could.  As we reviewed all of the products we could choose to merchandise in our store, we quickly realized that we could source most of the raw food, healthy treats and raw bones from small local business right in our own back yard!  Today, 100% of the raw pet food, 100% of the raw meaty bones and close to 90% of the treats we choose to merchandise in our stores is Canadian and most are sourced locally here in Ontario.

The economic impact of supporting local small businesses is incredible.  The cascade effect that a purchase decision has on the local economy may not be so apparent.  But it is huge.  10 years ago, we met Caroline and Dave, who were starting a commercial raw pet food brand called Bold Raw.  They were starting out in their town of Erin Ontario at the same time we were launching Back To The Bone.  The product they were making was of amazing quality priced right and located in our own backyard.  All the boxes were checked off and we brought the Bold Raw line into the store.  It is still in our store 10 years later.  So here is the cascade effect I mentioned.  As our business grew over the years, more and more pet owners purchased the Bold Raw product.  Our orders with Bold Raw increased, as it did withall other stores smart enough to carry their line of food.  Dave and Caroline continued to grow to the point that Bold Raw and Mega Dog Raw (Mega Dog a second raw line by Dave and Caroline, as the demand called for it, and they answered) are now distributed to pet stores across the country and available to pet-owners country-wide.  Think of the economic impact this has had.  Employment opportunities, business to business transactions and the impact it has had on other businesses who source to Bold Raw.  You can see where I am going with this.  At the end of the day, supporting 1 local small business can positively impact a multitude of other businesses and eventually the health of the overall local economy.  Jobs were created across Canada, and this all started from the dream of a few local people but plausible because of YOU – the local shopper.

Supporting local, small, and independent business can also be a great advantage to you, the consumer.  We like to think of ourselves as specialists in providing high quality and fairly priced products in the raw pet food space.  More than that, we take a lot of pride in making sure all our customers are educated in pet food nutrition and how we can put together a balanced and healthy menu plan.  We will spend as much time as we need to help our customers who have issues or challenges with their pets regarding food and even supplementation.  Being independent and small allows us to continue to provide a level of personalized service that may not be readily available with other “large chains.”  Our staff are hand-picked and trained to provide the level of consistent service we have been striving for over the last 10 years.  Regardless of the business you are shopping at, it seems to us that the level of customer service and expertise is extremely high when dealing with small local independently run businesses.

One last example of how we all benefit from supporting local, as best we can.  Back in March, as Covid-19 was spreading throughout the world, many of our customers were wondering whether they would be able to get their pet’s food.  Our stores experienced a significant increase in sales volume and our inventory was depleting quite quickly.  Since we support local, and most of our raw food, bones and treats are sourced locally, we were able to make phone calls directly to the companies (usually the owners themselves) to see if they could ship us more product so that we could meet our customers’ demands.  They all came through and we had special deliveries being made on short notice into the evenings and on weekends.  Pet parents were unsure as to what would and would not be available, but we were able to continue to have product, and we took pride in ensuring your pets needs would still be met in a time of chaos. We had no supply chain interruptions.  In fact, many of our raw food suppliers had built significant inventory levels to handle the increase in demand.  They are relatively small as well and can make decisions quickly.

Looking back, we are so grateful that we chose to focus on Canadian products, and more importantly have access to some amazing local entrepreneurs who we have been able to partner with.  The events of the last 6 months made many people rethink how and where they shop.  So many small local businesses have been put in a difficult situation and without the support of local shoppers, they just simply will not make it. To those who have made a choice to shop local, thank you from the bottom of our hearts ♥

Love where you live, love where you shop -  we truly hope you love both!