Our Food Hub Hits Record Sales Growth

The cooler jam-packed with local food!

The cooler jam-packed with local food!

Thanks to the support of our customers and tireless work of our producers, the Food Hub is growing—and growing quickly! Between July and the end of September, Food Connects sold and transported $202,100 of local food. That means FC sales grew 60% over the previous quarter, and 61% over the same period in 2018. Our largest sales week totaled $19,055, which represents a 46% increase over our strongest week in 2018. Since this time last year, we have added 16 new producers to our regular catalog. Items from those new producers accounted for sales of more than $36,000 in Q3 and $60,000 in 2019 to-date.

While our small-but-mighty staff hustles to move more and more weekly orders, we are laying the groundwork for future growth. In Q3, among other projects, we:

  • bought a second refrigerated van for our delivery fleet; 

  • added an Operations Coordinator position; 

  • saw our cooler/freezer facility construction project nearing completion; 

  • began transitioning online sales to a new platform; 

  • and launched a new delivery route to the Mt. Sunapee area in New Hampshire.

New cooler, mid construction.

New cooler, mid construction.

The next two quarters will be no less busy. In October, we will finally move 100% of our operations into our new Brattleboro facility, where we’ll be able to handle, store, and care for products to the highest possible standards, and where we’ll have the space to continue this year’s rate of growth into 2020 and beyond. In Q4, we’ll begin regular routes to the Pioneer Valley, to the Upper Valley, and all the way to Burlington. With these new routes, Food Connects will tap into areas that have never before been served by a wholesale food hub. We’ll also access new products for our catalog, so that all our customers can enjoy an even broader selection of the exceptional foods this region has to offer. 

Growing Our Food Hub

At Food Connects we pride ourselves in our ability to provide locally produced food to our communities, connecting our farmers and customers. Our unique position in our community’s food systems didn’t happen overnight—it took care and nurturing. We are now at a point in our operations where we need to sow extra seeds to ensure our continued growth.

Since the start of 2019, we have added 12 producers network, allowing us to diversify our products and support economic growth in our region. These producers include Queen’s Greens, Kitchen Garden Farm, Frisky Cow Gelato, MacLennan Farm, Abenaki Springs Farm, and others. Coupled with the work of our other producers, our second quarter sales increased by 45% as compared to 2018.

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Additionally, we’ve welcomed two new staff members to our Food Hub team. Julicia, our Sales Manager, joins us with a strong background in agricultural development and brings fresh energy and perspective imperative to growing our customer base and supporting producers in new ways. Scott is our Food Hub Operations Coordinator. He fills a much-needed role, assisting with warehouse development, order picking, and deliveries around southern Vermont and New Hampshire. We’re also expanding our delivery fleet, purchasing a second refrigerated van, allowing us to be more nimble in our deliveries to our rural customers.

In the coming months, we’re excited to launch our new online ordering platform, Local Food Marketplace. This switch is necessary for increasing our operational efficiencies and customer responsiveness while providing a user-friendly interface for both customers, producers, and ourselves! Additionally, this platform is photo-based, allowing customers to see what the product looks like prior to purchase.

Lastly, and most importantly, we’re building a 1,000 square-foot cooler and freezer facility adjacent to our offices at the BDCC (Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation) Business Park. This will level up our operational efficiencies, increase storage space, and allow us to bring on new producers and continue to expand our customer base.

It’s exciting to leverage these new opportunities into continued growth as we look to sustain this growth. This expanded iteration of our Food Hub will continue to support our vision of healthy families, thriving farms, and connected communities.