Sarnia’s Laura Manzano says she never pictured herself a business owner.
Yet seven months after establishing her Organics Live grocery delivery franchise, she has already achieved her one-year sales goal.
“I didn’t have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said the supply teacher, who is a married mother of two preschoolers.
But when Manzano decided she wanted to feed her family only certified organic food, finding enough variety in Sarnia-Lambton wasn’t easy.
That’s when she bumped into an old school friend visiting from the GTA and noticed her car was covered in Organics Live advertising.
“I asked her about it and found out that no one had brought the franchise here yet,” Manzano said.
Organics Live is a Toronto-based company started three years ago by a group of families trying to keep GMO products and pesticides out of their diet.
The company’s mandate is to source locally grown certified organic groceries and deliver them to the customer’s door. Organics Live has franchisees across Ontario and is moving into the eastern United States.
“I just thought it’s so needed in our area,” said Manzano.
Since launching in November, she has signed on 100 weekly and bi-weekly customers. Customized orders are made by logging onto the Organics Live website (www.organicslive.com) and selecting from a list of seasonal vegetables and fruit available from local growers.
In Canada, there are obviously times when produce must be transported from places like California, Manzano said.
“But during the growing season, 80% to 90% is from Ontario.”
For instance, one recent selection included certified organic mushrooms from Ashburn Ontario, tomatoes from Quebec, pea shoots from Caledon Ontario, and Boston lettuce from LaSallette, Ontario.
The basics are offered every week, including bananas, potatoes, and apples, along with more interesting choices like radicchio, broccolini, dates and artichokes, said Manzano.
Options include a small box ($39.95 with 11 varieties), regular box ($49.95 with 13 varieties and larger quantities) or a large box ($59.95 with 15 varieties and even larger quantities) delivered to the door.
The orders are packed in Toronto and trucked to a central location in Lambton where Manzano and her drivers take delivery.
Demand has grown so rapidly she has hired four drivers to help every Tuesday evening.
Demand is coming from Petrolia, Corunna and the Mooretown area but she makes delivers all over Sarnia and as far away as Lambton Shores and Alvinston.
“All of our produce is certified organic by U.S. and Canadian standards and we are a carbon neutral company,” said Manzano.
To date, none of Organics Live produce comes from Lambton County. However, customers can go on the company website and suggest specific growers they may know here.
For more, contact Manzano at 226-778-4309 or [email protected].
HOTEL’S GRAND OPENING
More than 200 people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Hampton Inn by Hilton on Venetian Boulevard in Point Edward.
The Chamber held its monthly Business After Five during the event. The six-storey, 95-room Hampton Inn is the newest hotel to be opened by Vrancor Group and the first new hotel built in Sarnia/Point Edward in more than 20 years.
The opening created 25 new jobs.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.