The Parksville Chamber of Commerce’s new fulfillment centre for Vancouver Island businesses is gaining customers and meeting with early success.
The company packages and delivers or mails products from Vancouver Island.
It’s operating in a similar fashion to Amazon filling a void between producers, businesses and customers here.
“Necessity brings innovation and that goes over in my head all the time and the pandemic did that,” said Corry Gervais, Deliver Vancouver Island’s Project Manager.
Deliver Vancouver Island, or DELVI for short, is a solution created by the Parksville Chamber of Commerce as a way for small-scale farmers, or product producers to get their goods to market.
“We also want to open up Vancouver Island products to the world and help small businesses be able to do that without all the predatory practices,” said Gervais.
You won’t find any of that at DELVI, the startup company of six months. With an electric van for pickups and deliveries, DELVI has had 15 companies sign-up so far and is tracking for 40 by the end of this year.
With a grant from the provincial government, the Parksville Chamber of Commerce developed the business plan and got the operation off the ground.
“This is a much more complex business and a much more sophisticated business but it’s still a business and who better to run a business than a business organization,” said Kim Burden, executive director of Parksville Chamber of Commerce.
Burden says they now have plans to move into a purpose-built fulfillment centre and it wants to aid even more Island businesses.
“We certainly don’t want to lose the bricks and mortar and we want to be sure that we’re not replacing bricks and mortar but we want to be an adjunct so that people can really grow their businesses to be worldwide,” said Burden.
The first company to sign on was Doorway Drop, which sells groceries online.
“Because we saw it as an instrumental step for us scaling up. To be able to have a warehouse as a service where we could pay for what we needed and they would take care of all the logistics and we could focus on growing our business,” said Mitch Hawes, a co-owner of Doorway Drop.
Hawes says with the location of DELVI Doorway Drop is working to expand its reach up to Campbell River.
During the pandemic, the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce urged people to shop locally instead of spending money with giant non-local retailers.