Say goodbye to Shopl® in Grande Prairie, AB

And, Say hello to Chow Local®

In 2021 we partnered with Turbo Delivery to launch Shopl® in Grande Prairie. Turbo's owner Fisnik Veliu shared our vision for a one-stop local online marketplace. Within the first month of launching the app in his community, Fisnik managed to recruit close to 50 local businesses, and we were all very excited to see our vision come to life after many months of hard work building the platform. 
The initial plan was to offer the community a local "Amazon", designed to keep more money in the local economy. Turbo is the go-to delivery service in Grande Prairie, with much of its 18 years spent delivering food for restaurants. So it came as no surprise when restaurants also got on Shopl®, despite the platform being designed for retail shops. 
We changed the system as needed to accommodate the needs of restaurant owners. For our development team, it initially meant making some minor adjustments to the system. For example, unlike retail shops restaurants don't want to receive orders outside of their hours of operation. If you buy something from a retail shop at midnight, you're usually happy to get your purchase delivered the next day. The same can not be said for food. 
What started as a few minor adjustments to make the platform "work" for restaurants, soon turned into a full-time mission. Shopl® was designed to make money in the form of commissions every time a seller (shop or restaurant) gets an order. Since the majority of all the orders are for food, it comes as no surprise that our priorities shifted to address the needs of restaurants on the platform, instead of the shops.  
85% of all the orders in Grande Prairie continue to come through the handful of restaurants on the app. Why this is the case is not clear to us. It might boil down to the fact that most retail shops have online stores so they might not have an incentive to drive their customers to Shopl® (or any other online marketplace) when they know they will end up paying a 10% commission. 
Restaurants on the other hand already pay as much as 30% every time you order from them through apps like SKIPtheDishes™, so it is easy to see why a restaurateur would encourage their customers to order through Shopl® instead. 
It did not take us long to realize we were missing the mark with Shopl®. Everything about Shopl® from its name to the way it was built was focused on shopping (local), but that was not what people were using it for. That there was a need for a local food delivery app that offered restaurant operators a better deal, was crystal clear.
So, we decided to rework the platform with a clear goal to be a better solution for our restaurant partners, and the people who love their food. Not only did we redesign the platform, but we also changed its name. "Shopl" just does not sound like a place where one would order food. Without giving it too much thought we decided to go with one of the slogans we used in some Shopl® promotional graphics: Chow Local!


Above is an example of a post taken from the Shopl® Grande Prairie Facebook page, dating back to July last year.

So what is Chow Local®, and why should you care? 

Simply put, Chow Local is an ethical alternative to apps like SKIP™. It's a food delivery app (powered by Turbo Delivery) that does not charge restaurants ANY commission. Instead, each restaurant pays a low monthly fee. We charge restaurants the equivalent of a cup of coffee a day... or one beer... whatever you're into. You get the point. We're talking peanuts, compared to the thousands of dollars some restaurants currently fork out to SKIP™ every month.


About 3 months ago we soft-launched Chow Local™ in Regina, SK as well as in Peace River, AB to test this idea out. We were not surprised to find that people genuinely want to see the restaurants in their community thrive. They don't want them to give up 15-30% of the order to some multinational corporation with zero ties to their local community. Needless to say, the feedback from restaurant owners and people in the community is overwhelmingly positive! 
Now that we know Chow Local® works, you'll notice a bit of a transition happing in Grande Prairie. Over the next few days, we'll launch the app here and start promoting it as much as possible. We'll change the name of the Shopl® Grande Prairie Facebook page etc. We hope you will lend a hand and help us spread the word. Most of all we hope you will download the Chow Local app and order some food from our restaurant partners. 


Those of you who had placed orders before through Shopl® will sadly find your past orders will not appear in Chow Local™. We decided to start with a clean slate.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to let Fisnik know.