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How the Living Local Box Took Off in Peterborough

Alicia Doris simply loves all things Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

Alicia has been putting down roots in Peterborough since she was 12, when her father was transferred to the city. Though she left to attend journalism school at Ryerson University, she came right back to begin her career. Through her work as a reporter at The Examiner, and then as a communicator at Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Trent University and The Canadian Canoe Museum, she has deepened her connections to the community her own family now calls home. Alicia lives in Lakefield with her husband Todd, and her children, Kate, 14, and Andrew, 9. She serves on the Board of Directors of Community Counselling and Resource Centre and is past chair of Children’s Stage Lakefield. This spring, with a little more time on her hands than usual –  and a lot of hometown pride – she launched Living Local.

PKED: To our readers who haven’t heard: What is the Living Local Box?

Doris: Living Local is a subscription box that features the very best of Peterborough and The Kawarthas from local entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses.

At a time when living local has never been more important, this seasonal subscription box brings to your doorstep four times a year, curated collections of artwork, bath and body, food and drink, and lifestyle products.

The Living Local boxes feature familiar products and perennial favourites, alongside others that are lesser known or new to the market. Regardless, the collections showcase and support individuals and families living and working in our region. Further, five dollars from the sale of every box is donated to a local charity.

PKED: When did you first come up with the concept? Where/what did you draw inspiration from?

Doris: Over the last couple of months, we’ve been staying home and slowing down. And I think for many of us, there is a new or renewed appreciation for the exceptional quality of life we enjoy in Peterborough and The Kawarthas. Living “local” and all things close-to-home have taken on new meaning, and offerings from local entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses – and the individuals and families who are behind them – have become even more important economically, environmentally, culturally and socially.

All the while, I was seeing successful subscription box initiatives in other communities in Canada and the U.S. With so much to offer right here at home, I had a feeling that this was something that would resonate in our region.

PKED: How has the response been so far within the community (both from local producers and consumers)?

Doris: Having lived here for most of my life, I know that ours is a community that comes together in good times and in not-so-good times. We take care of each other. So, as I say, I thought this passion project might have momentum. However, I’ve been overwhelmed by the encouragement I’ve received. There is excitement and in turn, support from both the creators themselves, and from community members. In fact, our Spring Box sold out in less than a week and our Summer Box is well on its way!

PKED: What are your hopes for the subscription as it grows?

Doris: There is so much passion for this project and with that, comes possibility! Already, we’ve heard that the boxes make great gifts and have received requests to have them available for purchase at all times. It’s something we’re considering, as well as limited edition boxes that would allow us to showcase even more of the community we know and love. Community members can watch our web site and social media channels for updates.

PKED: Noticed you’re using Shopify to run your e-commerce platform. What has it been like using Shopify? How easy was it to set up your online store?

Doris: While technology isn’t my area of expertise, the platform is incredibly user-friendly. Further, Shopify is offering promotions to help businesses transition to e-commerce, making it a great time to get on board. The online tutorials are amazing, and I must admit, so are my friends who supported me along the way. 

PKED: What is it about the community in Peterborough & the Kawarthas that takes so well to the ‘Support Local’ concepts?

Doris: In Peterborough & the Kawarthas, we understand that we are absolutely, the sum of our parts. We are clearly a community that values, and supports, the contributions of our local entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses.