Online Marketplace Features Local Vendors & Regional Producers
SCHENECTADY, NY (May 3, 2021) – The Electric City Food Co-op (ECFC) announced today that it has launched an online platform that will act as a virtual store coupled with touch-free, curbside order pickup at The Schenectady Trading Company in downtown Schenectady. As of Monday, May 3, 2021 all ECFC member-owners and the general public will have the ability to purchase locally sourced foods, produce and goods from area farms, artisan makers and producers located throughout the Capital Region.
The ECFC, which currently has 423 member-owners, had been engaged with site selection and was on track to receive grant funding to assist with opening its first brick-and-mortar full-service grocery store/food co-op in downtown Schenectady last year just before the pandemic hit. With those plans put on hold, the Co-op’s focus shifted to collaborating directly with the community to address issues in the local food system, shorten the supply chain, and support the local economy.
In December 2020, the ECFC sent a poll to its member-owners to gauge interest and support for establishing a transitional virtual marketplace and the response was overwhelmingly positive from the majority of participants. More than 95% of respondents supported an online marketplace, and many offered suggestions on the types of products and vendors they wished to see.
“While COVID-19 has changed so many things, it has made us realize how many inefficiencies are present in our existing food system and highlighted the need for continued support of our local food systems and locally grown and made goods and services,” said ECFC Board of Directors President Matt Robbins. “This transitional stage is very timely and is garnering tremendous public support, bringing healthy food to downtown Schenectady remains a goal of the Electric City Food Co-op now more than ever.”
The Co-op is establishing its new virtual store via the online platform Local Food Marketplace, which it took over from the Schenectady Greenmarket in January 2021. It allows farmers and vendors to showcase their available products and goods for consumers to place orders . Capital Roots and the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market are also customers of Local Food Marketplace.
“Schenectady Greenmarket invested in the Local Food Marketplace at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when we were in limbo with reopening our physical market in downtown Schenectady,” said Haley Viccaro, Chair of the Board of Schenectady Greenmarket. “Once we were able to reopen the market soon after the online platform was established, our efforts focused on operating the market safely and successfully every Sunday around City Hall and inside Proctors during winter. We were happy to help support Electric City Food Co-op in their new venture to launch an online market and advance our collective mission of increasing access to local food and supporting our farmers, especially as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ECFC online marketplace includes a variety of products including fresh eggs, local meat and cheese, milk and yogurt, greens, as well as non-perishables such as dried pasta, sauces, spices, beans, coffee, and flour, and much more. With more than 46 vendors, shoppers can expect new products and vendors to be regularly added to the marketplace. Orders can be placed each week beginning on Mondays at 9 a.m. until Thursdays at 12 p.m. Once orders are transmitted to the vendors, products are delivered and aggregated by ECFC staff and volunteers and available for pick-up each Monday from
3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Schenectady Trading Company located at 609 Union Street in Schenectady.
The top five selling participating vendors to date are:
The Schenectady Trading Company, a relatively new “general store” on lower Union Street which offers a small selection of locally sourced groceries and gifts, is working in partnership with the ECFC to serve as the aggregation site and pick-up location for shoppers of the virtual ECFC until the customer base outgrows the arrangement.
“As a member-owner I’ve been following the progress of the ECFC with enthusiasm, and when I learned about the decision to start virtually, I offered to be a resource. Both my business and the ECFC believe in fostering community and supporting the local economy, so it seems like the perfect fit to meet their needs during this time of transition,” said Caroline Bardwell, owner of The Schenectady Trading Company.
Additional support for the ECFC and its new online marketplace stems from some of its corporate sponsors, including MVP Healthcare, a fixture in downtown Schenectady that has a demonstrated commitment to community health and wellness.
“At MVP Health Care, we are committed to the well-being of our members and the communities we serve,” said Ellen Sax, Vice President of Community Engagement at MVP Health Care. “A significant part of keeping our communities healthy is access to a variety of fresh food, which is now easier than ever to access because of the Electric City Food Co-op and their innovative and exciting online platform. We are so proud to support this effort and our local businesses as they work to ensure the health and vitality of our communities.”
The ECFC online marketplace is available for new and current shoppers to sign up and place orders at ecfc.localfoodmarketplace.com. Vendors/producers interested in selling their products on the ECFC online marketplace can contact Lesley Cutting at ECFCMarketManager@gmail.com.
For more information please visit: http://www.electriccityfood.coop/.
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About the ECFC: The Electric City Food Co-op (ECFC) was organized by its founder Katherine Wolfram in 2013 to bring a community-owned, one-stop grocery market, featuring local and bulk foods, to the downtown area of Schenectady. The Co-op aims to be a flagship store for locally sourced and sustainably produced foods and products. With more than 400 member owners, the ECFC intends to be a game-changing, transformative project for the Schenectady community. Visit: https://www.electriccityfood.coop/ and https://www.facebook.com/ElectricCityFood.