Rhode Island’s first food business incubator is bringing its small businesses online with a virtual “Makers Market.”
Hope & Main has partnered with Providence-based food technology company Crave Food Systems to create its custom online marketplace – the Hope & Main app. The app will allow shoppers to discover new favorite makers, pre-order their desired items and select convenient pickup locations, all in support of Rhode Island’s local food economy.
The app will complement the suite of resources Hope & Main offers the food entrepreneurs who grow their businesses in the former school house on Main Street in Warren. Hope & Main provides a broad suite of technical support and industry resources to give members a distinct advantage in a competitive marketplace. Frequent community events, farmers markets and trade shows foster a robust variety of connections with both retail and wholesale consumers year-round. The app will amplify this approach, significantly boosting makers’ access to a range of customers otherwise unreachable.
“We are witnessing major disruption in the food industry, and Crave Food Systems is at the leading edge of the an important trend: shortening the supply chain in food retailing,” Lisa Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main said. “Amazon is certainly the best example of this, but has offered no path for local producers. That is why we are so excited to partner with Crave Food Systems. This app puts the power of purchasing local directly into the hands of the consumer. No distributor or grocery store shelf necessary. We love that it will connect Hope & Main makers to the consumers who are seeking their products at farmers markets across the state.”
While offering eaters new access to a wide variety Rhode Island made goods, the Hope & Main app is also a powerful eCommerce tool to strengthen entrepreneur’s growing businesses, at no cost to them. To make business more sustainable for makers, the app charges no signup, transaction or credit card processing fees. It has the potential to directly strengthen Rhode Island’s food economy by making it more convenient for Rhode Islanders to buy local.
“Hope & Main has been the foundation for so many amazing food businesses in our state – and Crave Food System’s unique technology will help their members reach new customers and markets,” Sue AnderBois, director of food strategy for the State of Rhode Island, said. “Partnerships between food businesses like these are part of what makes Rhode Island’s food economy so vibrant and innovative.”
To get a taste of some of the best Rhode Island-made goods from the convenience of a mobile device, anyone can now download the Hope & Main app for iOS or Android.
About Hope & Main: Hope & Main is a nonprofit food business incubator on a mission to help local entrepreneurs jump-start early-stage food companies and food related businesses by providing low-cost, low-risk access to shared-use commercial kitchens and other industry-specific technical resources. Hope & Main’s goal is to help grow the local food economy by creating a community of support for food entrepreneurs and cultivating an environment where emerging culinary startups can test, create, scale and thrive.
About Crave Food Systems: Crave Food Systems Corporation (CFS), established in 2014, is a food technology company that brings eCommerce and marketing tools to farmers, fishermen, artisans and the local communities they serve. CFS believes the right technology can open the door to healthier food for all.