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Online Marketplace Set to Launch Local Food Vendors into the Mainstream

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Breaking The Chains page.

When Sadie Scheffer decided to start her own vegan, gluten-free baking company, the logistics were not her top priority. Like many small food companies without retail spaces, she started Bread SRSLY by delivering her breads and muffins on a bike, using a makeshift online ordering system through email and Etsy, and taking cash on delivery. Scheffer's system worked when she was fielding a few orders at a time, but when it came time to scale up, it was less than ideal.

Enter Good Eggs, a San Francisco-based startup that provides online tools for small and sustainable food producers. Now Scheffer's orders come through the Good Eggs online platform, and on top of taking orders from house to house, she now also drops off a lot of product at once at community pickup spots arranged by the company. She sells three times as many loaves of bread as she did before Good Eggs. Scheffer admits that she's had trouble keeping up with orders, but adds: "That's the fun part, the scary part, and the only way I'm going to grow."

When Good Eggs was founded in the summer of 2011, co-founders Rob Spiro and Alon Salant knew they wanted to build "a product and company to serve and grow local food systems," even if they didn't know what it would look like. But Spiro and Salant are no amateurs: Spiro is an original co-founder of Aardvark, which sold to Google in 2010 for $50 million, and Salant is a co-founder of a software design company called Carbon Five.

The pair quickly set out to figure out how they could use technology to boost the local food community. They discovered that most small food businesses were built by food people, not tech people, and they were often missing the software they needed for even the most basic operations. Many, they found, were spending time they could be baking, pickling, or curating filling out charts on Google Docs by hand and taking one-off email orders.
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