What began as a Google spreadsheet with more than 160 Canadian businesses collated from memory and research has become a directory of hundreds that have a website and a high-quality photo and offer nationwide shipping, curbside pickup or delivery.
Not-Amazon.ca has garnered more than half a million page views and grown to include 4,000 businesses across Toronto, Calgary, Halifax and Vancouver, reports Geneva Abdul for The New York Times. Thousands of businesses are awaiting approval for the submission-based site.
“In a big city like Toronto, where it feels like most businesses are local, I think it’s so easy to think these things will be here forever,” said the site’s founder, Ali Haberstroh, who works as a social media manager at a marketing firm and plans to expand Not Amazon to even more cities. “You don’t think that they’re going to go anywhere.”
Ms. Haberstroh’s attempt to even the playing field has been welcomed by small-business owners like Tannis and Mara Bundi, twin sisters who opened the Green Jar in Toronto last December. The store specializes in bulk items, like soap and honey, that customers buy to refill their own containers, reducing single-use plastics and household waste.
When the pandemic took hold in March, the sisters swiftly focused on their online operations and offered pickup and delivery, but even as restrictions eased, business remained touch and go. Since being on the Not Amazon site, the Green Jar has seen online orders rise 500 percent and has been “incredibly busy,” Tannis Bundi said.