West Quesnel’s Long Table Grocery has been short-listed for the Canadian FedEx Small Business Grant.
The local-food focused store was selected from over 2,000 applicants to be one of 75 finalists from across Canada.
Owner/operator, Amy Quarry, says it felt surreal when she got the email on May 30 saying she had made the initial cut.
“It’s wild. It’s this thing on the internet that doesn’t really affect the day-to-day but it’s neat because it was a social media thing in the beginning, so it’s nice to know we have to support of the local community and specifically our social media community that helped us qualify.”
The committee in charge of choosing the finalists used the social media response alongside an application that was filled in to determine who would move forward.
Up for grabs is a grand prize of $30,000 plus $10,000 in marketing and consulting services and a meeting with FedEx Express Canada president Lisa Lisson. There is also a silver prize of $15,000 and $5,000 in marketing and consulting services as well as eight bronze prizes of $5,000.
If Long Table is a winner, Quarry says a top priority for them is to expand their zero-waste capacity in the store.
“We wanted to add more zero-waste product lines and build an on-site composting facility that potentially our customers might even be able to use,” she says.
Quarry adds publishing a cook book has always been a goal of hers. She would like to include recipes from local farmers and in-house cooks as well as the customers that would tell a communal story of what is going on in the local food scene in the North Cariboo.
Most importantly for now, she wants the grocery to continue to build upon their small success.
“The big dream is for Long Table to make a sustainable store and grow the business to a place where we can be in it for the long term,” she says.
“We’re still a really new business and we haven’t made it. There’s still lots of unknowns and we’re doing the best we can.We’d like to expand how much local produce we can buy and expand the impact our store can have on the local economy.”
She knows the business is up against some intense competition from big box stores, so appreciates all the familiar faces she sees week in and week out.
“We enjoy getting to know them,” she says. “We feel we’re a part of the community and it feels good, like we’re doing something positive.
“All of my team is really on-board and they really work hard and are invested in the cause as well. We’re all the type of personalities that we want to do something that matters.”
Long Table submitted a video as part of the second step of the grant contest and will hear whether they have won on June 20.