Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT 100 Mile Markets!
Three questions with Elise Gilchrist, Co-Founder, and CEO of 100 Mile Markets.
Why did you start your business?
We started 100 Mile Markets with a mission to make buying local simple. Especially during the pandemic, we saw many small producers struggle as sales were disrupted by the closure of restaurants, farmers' markets, and other stores. Many pivoted to launch their website to sell their products online. Again and again, we heard that managing the website, marketing, and customer service was all really difficult on top of the farming, cooking, and making they were already doing.
That's when my team said, "Wait, those are all the things we love to do, I bet we could help!" So we launched 100 Mile Markets as an online marketplace for local food and goods. If you're someone who's looking for high-quality, healthy food that supports your local economy but you struggle to make it to your farmers' market, we're a great option. Order online Mondays in Norwalk to get your groceries on Thursday and know that everything was sourced from within 100 miles.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
This is my absolute favorite question to be asked because we've built our business with the express purpose of supporting local businesses. We couldn't do our work without the many incredibly skilled people who grow and make great food in this area. As of today, we work with 15 local businesses but that number grows each week.
One of the key businesses that support our work is Harbor Harvest, owned by true local food champions, Marilyn and Bob Kunkel. A list of the rest of our amazing partners: Ally's Herbs, Aya's Table, Cloudy Lane Bakery, East Coast Kombucha, House of Knipschildt Chocolate, Manny's Ultimate Bloody Mary Mix, Millstone Farm, Muggers Marrow, Oui Charcuterie, Quartertone Coffee, Strigo Coffee, Strong Sauce, The Bee Love Project, and The Rowayton Sauce Co.
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
We're still new so I would say that we are constantly reimagining our business, but more importantly, we're trying to reimagine what a local food system could be. Our vision is a future where family-run farms can compete with larger agriculture. We imagine everyone having easy, reliable access to high-quality, locally made food.
Our vision is for a food system that works for and supports this community and the local economy. We have a lot left to learn from our partners, vendors, and importantly, our customers, but we're committed to staying the course and making a positive impact here in Norwalk. If you want to learn more, check us out at: 100milemarkets.com
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!