It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Reimagine will be moving completely online as of December 17, 2022.
Some of our favourite times over the past two years on Piccadilly St have been meeting and chatting with our regulars. You’ve shared with us about your ups and downs of life, and listened to ours, too. While we will miss you all very much, the reality is our sales volume has dropped to unsustainable levels. We have mountains of debt and instead of getting better, sales just keep dropping. We have tried many things, and yet none of it was enough to see us through.
It’s been a long time coming
It has been a dire couple of years for small businesses everywhere – first the pandemic, followed by inflation and the beginnings of a global recession. For Reimagine in particular, launching a new type of store in the middle of a pandemic was always going to be a big challenge. In the end, it turned out to be a bigger challenge than we could handle.
This time last year, we called out to the community, saying that we simply could not continue in the way that we had been doing. We were not cut down for running a grocery store – we did not have the skills, we didn’t like managing people, our kids needed us, our passion was waning, we simply did not enjoy it any more. We were looking for a partner, but we didn’t find one. We started building a community platform, but we didn’t have the energy to get it off the ground. We are exhausted.
We have listed the building for sale, which is a necessity to be able to cover the many loans we’ve accumulated over the past few years. While the building is for sale, we will continue to offer our products through our website. The reason for online vs instore is that Kara will be able to pack the orders herself, thus reducing operating costs drastically.
Just to be clear, Reimagine itself is not going anywhere – at least, not yet. Our grocery store is closing, but our online store remains open. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago we added all of our grocery products to our website, so you can now order all kinds of food and pick a slot for curbside pickup. We can deliver everything except for refrigerated and frozen items, too. The website is still in development, so there may be a few items missing and some information might be incomplete, but it's ready for you to go ahead and order now. Help support us at this time and also help us to test out the new website!
When we close the doors of 206 Piccadilly St, we will dedicate time towards improving our website and delivering the best online shopping experience possible for our existing customers (and hopefully a few new customers, too. All store credit will remain valid and we will honour all physical gift cards online.
We are 100% committed to the ongoing success of the Thing Library, to continuing regular Repair Cafés, and to facilitating other workshops and events as our capacity allows. When we move out of our building, we will find a new home for the Thing Library and co-host Repair Cafés with other organizations and venues.
Is this forever?
While there’s a small (tiny) chance that our grocery store can still be revived as a brick-and-mortar business, we don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.
We might consider reopening the store if all three of the following conditions are met:
- Nobody buys or leases the building
- Our online store generates sufficient revenue from January to March 2023 both to cover our expenses and to prove that there is still sufficient interest in and support for our business (this only comes to about 20 customers per day)
- Someone steps forward to take charge of the day-to-day operations of the store
Over the past 2 years we have seen nearly 7,000 different people come through our store. Some of you have been over 100 times! Thank you so much for all of your support!
Together, we have directly prevented a lot of plastic from going into the landfill, reduced food waste and supported each other to live more sustainable and connected lives. Thank you for choosing lower waste options, thank you for coming to workshops and Repair Cafés and joining the Thing Library, thank you for everything you are doing in your homes and communities to reduce waste and raise awareness of the urgent need for climate action.
We are once again asking for your support during this time. If you have loved shopping at Reimagine, please continue to do so online. The only way the online shop will stay open is if people use it. Some other ways you can support are:
- Come to our holiday market on Saturday, November 19
- Tell your friends to check out the store – while they still can!
- Consider our space for any upcoming events, networking meetings, etc.
- Share this message, and any others you feel called to share.
We started this adventure with really big dreams for Reimagine. We dreamed of building it to the point of sustained profitability and giving it back to the community as a community owned co-op. We dreamed of a collaborative hub where environmentally conscious folks came together and steered the Reimagine ship wherever the community needed it. We looked up to companies like Patagonia and Dr Bronners - beacons of light in a dark, bleak corporate world. We wanted to be like them, to show the world that another type of corporation is possible. We hope that one day we, together, will be able to realize these dreams for a better, more equitable form of business and a more just society.