Shipt selected small businesses in Birmingham and other metros for its first LadderUp class -- a brand new accelerator program.
Birmingham's companies will now be joined by those from Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Washington, D.C., who were selected out of hundreds. Shipt has met its goal to reach at least 50% participation of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC in the program. 60% of LadderUp retail stores fall into one or more of these categories.
Businesses will take part in an 8-week program where they'll learn from industry leaders on topics such as driving sustainable growth and building a solid financial foundation. They'll also gain knowledge about marketing, ecommerce, basic legal information, and e-commerce. These businesses include grocery, floral and gift, health and wellbeing, and e-commerce.
Birmingham cohort members include
Bama Health Foods
Bama Health Foods, a health food store based in Birmingham, supports the westside of the city and focuses on the BIPOC Community who lack access to healthy foods. Bama Health Foods wants to extend its online reach and presence by using LadderUp. This will allow them to serve other under-resourced community members who may not have access to a physical store.
As a woman-owned company, Bama Health Foods will also be able share its knowledge with other small business owners to help strengthen the ecosystem of minority-owned businesses, said Jacquie Fazekas.
House Plant Collective
House Plant Collective is an indoor plant retailer that sells plants in Alabama. The team at House Plant Collective was faced with the challenge of converting an in-person store into an online one during the pandemic. The team at House Plant Collective hopes that LadderUp can help strengthen the company's online presence and expand marketing.
Jessica Watts is the owner of House Plant Collective, a Birmingham-based retail plant shop. She said, "As a Birmingham-based retail plant shop, we believe that this program will take HPC to a new level by allowing us to share the joy of indoor tropical plants and botanical products with other people nationwide."
The following are other cohort members:
Little Redbox Grocery
Little Redbox Grocery, which calls itself the "anti-grocery store," aims to cater its offerings to its surrounding Houston communities, providing residents with access to grocery stores who may not otherwise have it. Little Redbox Grocery has already opened a physical store, but now it wants to expand its services and reach more Houstonians by adding curbside pickup and online ordering.
Aurora Market, located in the nation's capitol, is an organic grocery that works with underserved community members in food deserts to curate its products according to its customers' needs. Aurora Market hopes to connect with peers who are experiencing the ups-and-downs of entrepreneurship through LadderUp.
Pablo Ortiz Jr. is the owner of Aurora Market. "As entrepreneurs, we understand the challenges of walking the lonely road. We believe in the power to be apart of a like-minded group that is driven by the results," said Ortiz Jr.
Carver Neighborhood Market
The founders of Carver Neighborhood Market want to make the market a pillar for Atlanta's community.
Carver Market has been a great asset to our community for over ten years. We need to improve and grow in e-commerce. "The ease of shopping at home and picking up your groceries would make it easier for us to serve our customers," said Jeff Delp. Director of Economic Development for Carver Neighborhood Market.
Leafy Greens Market
Leafy Greens, a company that opened in Atlanta in the midst of the pandemic because it saw the disconnect between food available in supermarkets and the needs in the community, wanted to provide fresh fruits and veggies to the people. LadderUp's founders hope that it will teach the market how to add delivery effectively.
Marrow Detroit Provisions
Marrow Detroit Provisions, inspired by the markets of Singapore, is working to provide Detroiters with healthier and cleaner meats. The store wants to reach out to the community to offer fresh meat sourced locally. Ping Ho is the owner of Marrow Detroit and she's excited to learn how to increase her customer base and revenue.
Fresh Houwse Grocery
Fresh Houwse Grocery, located in Houston, aims to become a place for people to come and shop, talk, and learn what is going on in their community. Fresh Houwse's owner looks forward to learning new skills that will help keep the store running smoothly, and shelves stocked.
Pillar & Pride
Pillar & Pride, a Detroit-based store, opened a shop that focuses on empowerment, wellness and education. Pillar & Pride aims to provide a healthy lifestyle for those who are interested in books, food and vitamin supplements. To keep up with the recent growth of Pillar & Pride, the owner is looking to expand his ecommerce capabilities.
Grace's Nutrition Market
Grace's Nutrition Market, a Houston-based company, has been helping people achieve their health and wellbeing goals for more than 40 years. Grace's Nutrition Market wants to learn how best to serve the younger generation, but with a changing clientele.
Michelle Garcia, the owner of Grace's Nutrition Market, said, "When running a small company, it is important to stay up-to-date on industry trends, changing marketing conditions, and new technology. You also need to be able to adjust to changes in our time." The opportunity to work with industry experts in e-commerce as advisers and mentors, providing valuable insight and guidance for my business is priceless.