Island online grocery retailer working with local producers


BCause delivers most goods found in a typical grocery store, working directly with suppliers – rather than distributors – in an effort to keep costs down. (CTV)

An Langford-based online grocery retailer is focused on supporting Vancouver Island producers by making their products more widely available.

BCause delivers most goods found in a typical grocery store, working directly with suppliers – rather than distributors – in an effort to keep costs down.

“In the traditional grocery supply chain, it’s complicated,” said Mitch Hawes, co-owner of BCause.

“It works and there’s a spot for it, but it’s complicated for small- and medium-sized vendors to navigate, especially if they’re on the early side of business, so our system is really vendor-focused.”

Hawes said traditional grocery stores set the price for products sold in their stores, usually at a higher price than the local producer would like. This, he adds, sets the producer up to fail to create a market for itself.

“How we like to do it is the vendor has complete control, so that they’re making enough money to cover their costs, but at the same time – because we’re eliminating the distributor component of the supply chain – is generally the same price or cheaper than traditional grocery store,” Hawes said.

Hawes said his business partner Brendan Fatt started the business during COVID while he was working at Islands West Manufacturing, a produce distributor owned by his father. At that time, sales were dropping off due to decreased restaurant sales. In an effort to drum up business, Fatts started Doorway Drop, which sold produce boxes directly to home customers.

The pair met when Fatts was looking for more warehouse space and approached Cold Star Solutions, a distributor for foods requiring refrigeration, which is owned by Hawes’ father.

The pair connected over their similar upbringings on the island and their passion for food.

Doorway Drop was rebranded BCause in March, has four employees on the payroll including Fatts and Hawes, and operates out of leased space at Cold Star’s Langford location.

Hawes said more local businesses, including those on the Lower Mainland, are looking to be apart of this new venture.

The business recognizes it has some major challengers providing similar services.

“Vancouver Islanders love to support local,” Hawes said. “That’s where we are really putting all of our eggs, in that basket.” 

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