Welcome to Make/Grow Local

Make/Grow Local is a new, not-for-profit online marketplace for buyers and sellers in the locally-made goods and locally-grown foods movement. It is launching in April, with its roots in the Maine community, and a nation-wide ambition to be the one platform connecting all makers and growers and their buyers.

Memberships are no cost (yes, free, forever) for all buyers and merchants, and for all makers and growers.

Make/Grow Local provides an intuitive, easy-to-use “discoverability and ordering” platform for any buyer, whether you’re a market, restaurant,  merchant or institution, who wants to offer local foods and local-made products. State by state, you can browse through categories of food and products, search easily for specific keywords, bookmark your favorite suppliers, and place orders for goods and products from any participating member.

And for producers, the people who work and invent tirelessly to create sustainable products—from crops, foods, beverages, home products, health and beauty items—this new community-focused platform offers you powerful tools to manage and showcase your offerings. Set inventory limits and monitor your orders in real-time, and more, from easy-to-use dashboards.

Features Overview

Built upon a cloud-based “content engagement” system made here in Maine, the Make/Grow Local platform offers online tools to help buyers discover and order local-made products, and producers (growers, makers) to showcase and market their goods to their customers and prospects.

It’s like a Swiss Army knife, with many integrated tools for you. It has email marketing features, sms-texting, product photos, video players for your promotional videos, and unlimited storage for all your products and inventory… there’s plenty of powerful reasons to join and use our free, community-driven marketplace.

As a nonprofit dedicated to the community, we can create new features to respond to the needs of members, without concern for profitability or the demands of investors.

Learn more in the Features section, and in the FAQs, and call or write for your demo today!

The sooner you begin showcasing your products and produce, the sooner Maine can benefit from a friction-free and local, independent marketplace.

About Us

Our team joined together in 2017 to make Make/Grow Local, a new Maine nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the “buy local” resurgence.

We’re friends and colleagues who are local growers, independent makers, entrepreneurs, foodies and craft-beer aficionados.  We are all Mainers who care about their home state, the people and animals within it, and who strive to be good stewards of the earth. We do business in an ethical manner, and strive to put people before profits.

We’re seeking like-minded partners and volunteers as well! Get in touch.

 

Why a community platform

A quick lesson about online platforms

Remember the time when you booked a flight on an airline by calling their toll-free number or logging onto their website? Hmm, don’t recall such a time? That’s because most travelers today head to Kayak, Hipmunk, Vayamundo, Flights.com or Google Flights to search for the best routes and prices from all available airlines.

Remember when you called the Marriott Hotel to book a few nights for a trip? Or, rather… when you logged onto Kayak, Hotels.com, Expedia, HomeAway or AirBnB to browse all the offerings, check prices and amenities, and then you booked through them.

You actually used a few of the internet’s most popular “platforms“. The digital age has spawned the rise of online software platforms, where marketplaces and transactions occur online, at large scales.

Our “old” global economy once was dominated by distributors, and the internet was seen as a way to shift away from aggregators to direct seller and buyer relationships. The hope was that the removal of intermediaries between consumers and producers would allow smaller companies to flourish. But as before, intermediaries (middlemen, in earlier vernacular) have built powerful online platforms which, while useful for consumers at first, ultimately can lead to complete domination of their markets, leading to monopolies where the middlemen (and their investors) scrape nearly all the available profit and attention in the marketplace. (e.g. Craigslist decimated newspaper advertising with its free classifieds; Facebook threatens investigative journalism with its “news” feed; Amazon put most booksellers and some retailers out of business and beat Ebay; Google did it to publishers, Uber is doing it to Taxis, et al.)

Yes, these platforms can reduce friction, increase sales volumes, and generate happier customers with better shopping experiences… until, as they grow, the aggregators stop helping customers and actually start hurting each side…

backchannel article on aggregator hubs

How? By de-emphasizing the providers/sellers (you!) and making you just a commodity among countless other sellers. Their playbook includes selling preferential placement in their online marketplace, and eventually controlling  all the communications and commerce between you and your customers (i.e. obscuring customer contact info and taking a cut of every purchase). And if you’re a buyer or merchant in B2B, these new platforms try to control the relationship between you and your suppliers/growers as well.

If you’re a “worker” in the new gig economy, the euphemism is “the sharing economy” where the platform (think Uber, Lyft, AirBnB etc.) sets the terms of engagement for workers and the buyers. These platforms earn billions of dollars by scraping every transaction between every participant, and they force prices down to commodity levels.

So…. what can be done about this?

We here at Make/Grow Local refuse to allow another important, growing marketplace—perhaps the most important market concerning sustainable food production and artisanal, independent livelihoods— to be “disrupted” by even more closed, proprietary systems.

Thus, we are pleased to offer you the Make/Grow Local community marketplace, which:

  • takes no cut of your sales and has no fees;
  • connects each party (buyers and sellers) directly and transparently to each other;
  • offers powerful discovery and marketing tools to you for free;
  • directly supports the local maker movement;
  • pledges to keep innovating and providing solutions to ease logistics and growth;
  • is an open platform, to encourage an ecosystem of 3rd-party solutions to solve growth and infrastructure problems that delivering local food/goods at scale requires.

in the hopes of encouraging the acceleration of a mutually-beneficial, frictionless, healthy ecosystem of innovative makers and growers, and the merchants and sellers thoughtful enough to source them.

Please join us as we build out the only local-focused marketplace run by and for makers and growers—and the buyers who care enough to source local.

Contact

Get in touch with us to learn more and to try the marketplace today. Email or call/sms to (207) 747-3385Ask for Paul or any of the team.