A series of interviews with bike related businesses are being conducted by GCAT board member, Jordan Richard. Here is the first in the series. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of a bike friendly business that you want highlighted!
Annex Market Guelph is a new grocery delivery business that started up a few months ago in downtown Guelph at The Cornerstone. GCAT was excited to see that they would be using e-bikes for their deliveries. We connected for an interview so that we could learn more about what they were up to!
GCAT: Before we talk about e-bikes, tell us about how your business came to be and how has it been going?
Annex Market: The Cornerstone has been open for 19 years, but with the pandemic we’ve decided to pivot and form an alliance with Annex Market from Toronto, to deliver locally produced products, including our Cornerstone’s Own. We wanted our customers to have access to all sorts of foods and beverages produced in Guelph/Wellington, and the GTA. So far the customers that have participated in the program have been thrilled, and we’re expanding product offerings weekly to satisfy the demands of these ever-changing circumstances.
GCAT: Do you see your business continuing to grow as we (hopefully) progress in our recovery from COVID-19? Or is the idea that this was just a temporary pivot during the pandemic, until things can go back to normal at the Cornerstone?
Annex Market: We’re in. Now that we’ve explored this new venture and realized the power in local food aggregation, we look forward to continually expanding this program while we re-establish The Cornerstone in this new context of Covid-19.
GCAT: You decided to use e-bikes for your next-day grocery delivery service. What are the reasons for taking this approach?
Annex Market: The Cornerstone was established 19 years ago, as a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in part, to reduce our environmental footprint. It’s been our philosophy since day one that we need to live lighter on the planet, and our food delivery modality should reflect that mindset.
GCAT: Was the idea to use e-bikes from the start? Or were you debating different delivery options?
Annex Market: We were, from the start, going to find a way to make zero-emission delivery work in the core of our city.
GCAT: What has the experience been like using the e-bike in Guelph? Are there any challenges you didn’t expect? Based on your experience, do you recommend it to others? What other types of business could take advantage of them?
Annex Market: The e-bike delivery method has been way better than we could have hoped for. It’s fast, convenient and obviously environmentally awesome. Other than Grange Street hill, it’s been challenge free. About 10 years ago, we tried to develop a “Downtown Guelph Delivers” as a mode to deliver all sorts of products from Downtown Guelph businesses. At the time, the demand for delivery wasn’t significant enough to make this a viable business. Now that delivery is becoming a new way of life, any and all businesses could benefit from this delivery system.
GCAT: We know that safer infrastructure and a more connected cycling network are critical to making bikes a more attractive choice in Guelph. But is there anything else you think we could change that would encourage more citizens and businesses to try it out?
Annex Market: Expanded use of bike lanes and a Montreal-style Bixi Bike program, or an ebike-share program would be a fun and interesting thing to explore.
GCAT: Do you have any advice for people or businesses who are considering e-bikes?
Annex Market: Do it. Similarly to the previous answer, a business based ebike-share program would be an interesting thing to investigate. There is certainly demand, and where there’s demand there’s opportunity.
Info about the e-bike:
Annex Market: We’re using Elby bikes, which have been amazing so far. The battery lasts up to 125 kilometers on a single charge. It also has the capacity to recharge when you ride downhill and brake, which makes the battery life last a little longer. You can ride up to 35km/hour with full pedal assist on, so it’s super fast and fun. We easily cover more than the downtown core with Elby. We also are using Wike trailers, which have been perfect for our delivery system.
Guelph local site: guelph.annexmarket.com
Toronto products: annexmarket.com
Facebook: Annex Market Guelph