With the Grain aims to make a positive impact on the Guelph community by sourcing many of its ingredients, for their baked goods, locally. This positive impact can be seen by looking at the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that With the Grain Achieves with its innovation of sourcing locally. There are two main SDGs: the first is goal 8 which is sustainable economic growth, and the second is goal 12 which is responsible consumption and production. The combination of the two UN SDGs and the innovation of sourcing goods locally has allowed With the Grain an integral part of improving the Guelph.
University of Guelph
One of the big innovations of With the Grain bakery is their huge commitment and focus to obtain as many of their ingredients locally, and in the interview, Sheri said, “we believe in high quality ingredients from sources that are close to home”. Sheri recognizes the importance to support the local Guelph community and the positive societal impact by shopping locally and supporting other small businesses. To put things into perspective we can link how shopping locally can meet some UN SDGs.
The first UN SDG that we will delve into, and that With the Grain is accomplishing by shopping locally is goal 12, which is sustainable consumption. When shopping locally not only are you supporting small businesses in your community, but you’re also creating a positive environmental impact. Why you may ask? Well, many supermarkets source their produce from remote locations which requires truckers to drive long distances and release a large amount of pollutants and CO2 emissions into the air. However, adopting the mentality of shopping close to home as With the Grain does, you can recognize that the closer your supplier is, the more sustainable your company is. Purchasing locally significantly decreases the bakery’s carbon footprint and shows that the businesses focusses in sustainable production.
In addition to goal 12, the second UN SDG that shopping locally meets is goal 8 which is all about inclusive and sustainable economic growth. When the bakery decides to purchase locally, they are choosing to directly support and promote local small businesses like themselves. In addition, it supports the Canadian economy and our GDP. In fact, many new jobs are created by small businesses so, by supporting them you are helping those businesses grow and create more jobs for people in Guelph. All in all, With the grain meets UN SDG goal 12 by shopping locally and putting money into the hands of local business owners, which in the long run helps improve the Canadian economy in a suitable manner.
As previously stated, Sheri has always wanted to own a bakery and found passion in baking and feeding people, and initially that’s all she wanted to focus on. However, as the bakery began to grow, Sheri began to realize that she wanted to use her company to make a difference in her community. In fact in the interview she said, “You have to make a choice, are you gonna be someone that grows without paying attention to these [quality of the service and goods provided by the company] just to make money then you lose all this other stuff [referring to the quality of service]”. It is evident that Sheri doesn’t solely focus on making profit as she now aims to give back to her Guelph community by sourcing all her ingredients. In fact, With the Grain’s website proudly states all of the local businesses that they have partnered with to ensure that the highest quality local ingredients are found and used to make her delicious baked goods. With that being said, Sheri had to work with other companies to establish and sustain the partnerships and relationships that she has formed with the other local small businesses. In fact, in the interview she noted that although they are all business owners, they all treat each other like people and help one another when they face issues.
The overall impact of With the Grain’s innovation of sourcing many of its ingredients locally is truly great as it creates many long-term impacts on the community. To start, in her interview Sheri talked about how she had to build strong relationships with other small businesses and focused on treating business owners like people and being mindful of the problems that they face. This truly creates a greater sense of community and encourages people who have dreams like Sheri to open their own small business. In addition, creating a sense of close community allows us to connect with others, and encourages local consumers to begin visiting their local bakeries or coffee-shops.
Adding on to the previously mentioned idea, by shopping locally, With the Grain helps encourage local businesses to stay in business and encourages others to open their own businesses. This allows our city to become a more interesting place to live which allows more innovative businesses to start. This drives more traffic into the city and can help lead other cities to start a Localization. This again, would further prove the significant economic impact that shopping locally can create.
Can this positive change be seen in Guelph? We would have to say yes. In 2016 Guelph was ranked as the fourth best place to do business, and Mayor Cam Guthrie said that this ranking was able to confirm that Guelph truly is a great place to start and grow a business. This really shows that people in Guelph are feeling more empowered and encouraged to open their own businesses when they know they have the support of other small businesses, like With the Grain. It’s also important to note that as a community, we recognize and encourage the efforts made by local businesses and support their sustainability and the new innovations that are brought into the community.
From the start, Sheri was able to recognize the need to support local small businesses. In fact, in the interview she noted that when the bakery was doing really well, she ensured that she provided all the support that she could provide to those businesses. This support can be seen to this day through her initiative of choosing to purchase her ingredients locally. Creating this support increased the sense of community and created many loyal customers. In her interview Sheri said, “We see generations of generations stopping by the bakery”. It shows how much her customers care for her and her businesses that they are willing to come back and introduce their family to the business as well. This created a strong business drive, and, in her interview, Sheri said that when her bakery was bigger, she had closer to 50 employees with very strong revenues. This goes to show that this local support has strongly benefited With the Grain as people enjoy supporting businesses that have high moral and good social corporate responsibility.
Not only has purchasing locally increased trust between Sheri and her customers but it also improves the quality of her product. Studies have shown that when you shop locally, you are getting fresher ingredients. The eggs, milk, and produce that is bought locally is usually free of any harmful toxins and hormones. This ensures that only the best ingredients go into the baked goods and that can be evidently tasted when trying the delicious loaf of bread from the bakery!
As previously mentioned, With the Grain’s innovation of purchasing many of their goods locally helps society benefit tremendously, as it creates a greater sense of community. This increased sense of community creates empowerment and encouragement to support local businesses and make an effort to increase sustainability. In addition, by shopping locally, With the Grain helps local businesses stay in business and potentially grow. This helps create and maintain jobs within our community, not to mention, helps the Canadian economy grow. Also, increased awareness of local shopping helps with the localization movement. This movement aims to educate individuals about the benefits of supporting local businesses and how our economies can thrive if we choose to support local businesses rather than large box-stores that try to outsource them.
Sheri also benefits society through her business because she recognizes that she wants to help others in her local community, and this includes her employees. She listens to them and their needs and goes above and beyond to ensure that they can take care of themselves first. This allows her employees to truly bring their best selves to work which increases the overall quality of customer service in her stores. This shows that aims to run her business by the Charles Handy philosophy as she recognizes that businesses should aim more than just make a profit and should work towards meeting the needs of society.
In terms of environmental benefits, we can reflect back on the UN SDG goal 12 that was discussed previously. Shopping locally has helped With the Grain decrease its carbon footprint as it doesn’t require Sheri to drive long distances in order to obtain her supplies for her baked goods. This decreases the carbon emissions that is released into the air by her car. In addition, shopping locally significantly decreases food waste by the bakery as large retailers go through significant food waste because ingredients are constantly bought in bulk and unfortunately, they go bad before they can be used. All in all, With the Grain’s innovation of purchasing their ingredients locally has strong impacts both socially and environmentally.
Sheri Bishop, Owner/ Manager
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Guelph, Ontario, CA
Business Website: https://www.withthegrain.ca/
Year Founded: 1999
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Ever since she was young, Sheri dreamed of having her own bakery, and that’s exactly what she did. In 1999 Sheri opened the doors of her bakery, With the Grain, in downtown Guelph and her dreams became a reality. The bakery’s mission is to deliver high quality baked goods in a local and sustainable manner and opens its doors to all. The company strongly believes in making a positive impact in its community by constantly aiming to source all of its ingredients locally.