At Freewheel, we are proud to partner with business leaders that share our vision of a more sustainable, vibrant and healthy urban environment.
Perhaps no one embodies that better than the founders of Stockbox Grocers. If you haven't been to their shop on First Hill or South Park yet, make it a priority.
They have an amazing mission, great staff and a wonderful store. We love delivering there six days a week for Molly's and Middle Fork Roast.
I was curious to know more about their story and what they think of Freewheel delivering to their shop. I asked CEO Carrie Ferrence to answer a few questions that I could share with you. She was kind enough to do so. Enjoy.
Freewheel co-founder and ceo
1) What's the idea behind Stockbox?
Stockbox is the new neighborhood grocery. We are working to build a network of small grocery stores across Seattle to offer a local resource for fresh foods, meals, and grocery staples in communities that don’t have access to good food. Our goal is to go where the grocery stores can’t and stock the food convenience stores won’t.
2) How do you believe Stockbox can make a positive impact on the community?
Not long ago most communities had their own corner store, regardless of their size, location, or economic standing. But over the past few decades these stores have all but disappeared from communities, while larger grocery chains have moved outside of the core. As a result, 23 million people in the U.S. now live in a food desert, which means they don’t have access to a grocery store or fresh food, where they live. This grocery gap is actually growing and demonstrates a pressing social need: emerging urban communities are left without a strong retail core to provide essential resources, while lower-income areas are left dependent on resources like convenience stores, resulting in disproportionately higher levels of chronic health issues. Stockbox is working to bridge this gap, so that all communities can have access to good food and can start to re-build their economic core.
3) What's your favorite part of your job?
I love retail. I have worked in retail for most of the past decade and I think it offers a unique opportunity to build face-to-face relationships with your customers. And because we sell a product (food!) that people have a really personal connection to, we get to learn and grow from our customers as they shop the aisles or make a purchase.
4) Do you have any advice for others looking to build a business with a social conscience?
Starting a business is difficult work, even if your business is working to create a social positive impact. People often assume that because we’re building a socially conscious business we don’t need to worry about the numbers. But, honestly, the reverse is true – we have to watch the numbers even more closely because we’re working to create a market where the traditional grocery companies won’t go. At the end of the day, it’s still about building a business where customers want to shop.
5) Do you like that Molly's and Middle Fork Roast are now delivering to your store carbon free with a bicycle?
We have been daydreaming about using cargobikes to deliver groceries since we launched! Most of our 30+ suppliers are local and it’s silly that they all drive their product to our stores separately and, often, in big trucks. We’re always looking for ways t support a more localized supply chain and Freewheel offers us an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment, to our customers and our suppliers!
How food or products are grown, made, produced or packaged. Whether you’re a business making products or a consumer choosing them, if you value sustainable practices, you’re already asking those important questions.
But what about how a product is delivered? Consider that most products are delivered with diesel trucks or vans that get poor mileage, cause climate and asthma-inducing pollution, endanger pedestrians and add to traffic congestion. Can't we do better than that?
That’s why we created Freewheel - to provide urban delivery entirely carbon free and to do it using bicycles instead of trucks. We’re passionate about our mission because we must do more to combat climate change and, here in Seattle, transportation is our biggest source of carbon emissions.
I love living in such an amazing city that leads the way on so many important issues. Together, we can change how delivery is done by adding ‘how did it get here’ to our core set of sustainability values.
Freewheel co-founder & ceo