Fernie locals, Jade Fahie and Ben Ingle, recently teamed up to create the Fernie Collective, a web based portal allowing residents to continue shopping from their favourite local stores during the COVID-19 crisis. Both active community members, the duo recognized that Fernie’s journey back to normalcy will be arduous, thus creating this initiative to offer businesses the support needed to survive the pandemic.
The Fernie Collective currently consists of two projects, a Virtual Downtown, and the Collective Store. While part of the Fernie Collective is live online now, the online store will be fully functional in mid May.
Through the Virtual Downtown website, locals will be able to find a comprehensive list of local businesses, their current status, and what they offer. Alongside that information will be links to their websites and tips on how to best support them. Hoping to eventually expand to include most, if not all businesses, this service is intended to ease confusion by offering one streamlined source of information about Fernie’s shopping scene.
“We truly love this town and everything it offers, so we can’t sit by and watch its heart be ripped out by the current situation. We want to do everything we can to see Fernie, its small businesses and its community thrive in these challenging times,” said Ingle.
Their Collective Store will offer businesses the opportunity to list inventory online, while giving locals the chance to buy from multiple stores in one socially distant transaction.
Once local companies send their stock lists to the Fernie Collective, Fahie and Ingle will compile the available products into an online market that allows customers to browse both according to product and business. At the end of each day, the Fernie Collective will receive product deliveries from each shop, combining all purchases into singular packages to be delivered to customers, or prepared for pick up.
According to Ingle, the Collective Store allows businesses to sell items currently collecting dust in their storage, even if their doors remain closed. Ingle also mentioned that selling excess stock allows businesses to continue ordering in bulk, keeping costs low and margins high. Ultimately, the Fernie Collective gives residents an effortless way to support local businesses before turning to larger corporations and franchises.
“Local businesses are the hubs around which the community spins. Places we go to relax and spend our free time, bring the community together and unite us, building links that would otherwise be left undiscovered,” said Ingle. “It’s important to us that people who love Fernie support local business because these businesses are a huge part of what shapes our town. In Fernie, businesses run by locals support trail building and events and employ members of the community, allowing people to build lives in this fantastic place, and keep our equipment running great so we can enjoy the mountains on our doorstep.”
For more information on the initiative, visit their Instagram or Facebook pages at @theferniecollective.