In one corner of the newly opened shop, prints and shirts scream their love for Winnipeg’s communities, from Transcona and its pink flamingoes to Charleswood and its legion beer.
Turn to another corner and find Manitoba-made mustards, olive oils, spreads and candles. GoodLocal’s latest feat sees 60 different brands showcased in an Exchange District shop.
The primarily online organization, which connects Manitobans to local makers, opened its first brick and mortar store (at 223 McDermot Ave.) on Black Friday. It’s the latest step in its goal of becoming a local Amazon.
"When we opened (the website) GoodLocal, it was fantastic. People really wanted to shop online and get stuff delivered," said Obby Khan, the organization’s co-founder.
"We quickly realized that people still wanted to have that in-person shopping experience."
The roughly 700 square foot boutique will be restocked every couple months with goods from Manitoban vendors. Entrepreneurs will book pop-up spots, on a rotating basis, to sell their wares in store.
"It’s perfect for people… to see our products firsthand," said Mia Dion, co-founder of Prairie Pampas.
Her décor company has never had a brick and mortar outlet. New eyeballs on Dion’s products could mean new customers, she said.
GoodLocal has generated over $1 million for small businesses since its 2020 inception, largely through its website, according to Khan.
However, the push for supporting Manitoban retailers has wavered since last winter, Khan said.
"We need to get people to shop local all year round," he said. "It’s not just a seasonal thing."
“There’s so many great vendors and businesses out there, but they’re all over the city. It’s been tough to kind of put them together in one platform, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” — Obby Khan, GoodLocal’s co-founder
He believes people will support Manitoba businesses if it’s easy to do so — and he’s taking action with the new storefront, which happens to be next to Shawarma Khan, his restaurant.
"I didn’t put all this money and time into renovating this place to turn it over for six months," he said, adding the set-up has taken many late nights.
Cede Sebelius, the founder of Spreads by Cede, has watched support for local makers taper off. Her almond and cashew butters are in GoodLocal’s shop.
"Now that we’ve sort of become accustomed to this pandemic, I think people have sort of forgotten about (shopping local)," Sebelius said.
The enthusiastic wave last holiday season provided a helpful boost for Sebelius’s business; she’s hoping GoodLocal’s location will do the same.
"Once you’re downtown, you kind of want to hit as many places as you can," she said, adding GoodLocal could garner new customers.
She partnered with the organization in its infancy, before its website launched.
"They mentioned when they originally reached out to me… that their concept was sort of like a local Amazon, and I thought that was really interesting," Sebelius said.
"Amazon local" is the target, according to Khan.
GoodLocal is offering GoodLocal Express, a courier service to Manitoba companies, for a minimum of $6 per trip. That income is now surpassing online transactions, Khan said.
It’s another way people can shop local more easily, he said.
"There’s so many great vendors and businesses out there, but they’re all over the city," Khan said. "It’s been tough to kind of put them together in one platform, and that’s what we’re trying to do."
GoodLocal’s shop is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The e-commerce platform, which Khan began with Dr. Ali Esmali, features over 550 local vendors and offers some same day deliveries. It can be found at https://goodlocal.ca/.