· By Switch Support

Celebrating One-Year at Ethical Local Market

A year is a long time to look back on to reflect on accomplishments and also some challenges. It is an incredible accomplishment to say that Ethical Local Market (ELM) has been running in the community for an entire year. We look back on our journey and feel very proud to see all our progress. 

A year means we have seen the store go through all four seasons. As they passed, each season brought a new experience for us to reflect upon. Like any new business getting its footing, there were times of peaks and lows. The year started slowly as people familiarized themselves with us in the neighbourhood until, eventually, things started picking up. Throughout the year, we saw some busy months that gave us the incentive to keep going, and continue our mission statement: to provide ethically and sustainably sourced products. Our determination and belief in our mission helped us through the times when we didn’t see as much business. As we approach our second year with the shop, we keep in mind that just like how the seasons are sure to change, so will the flow of our business, and we will continue to learn and adapt to those changes as time goes on. 


First phase of ELM construction.ELM sign going up in its second phase of construction.ELM is up and running.

Our small business started with just one brand, a brand called Progoti. Founded by Nurjahan Begum, the brand ethically sources products from Bangladesh and prioritizes safe working conditions and sufficient wages that looks after their workers' wellbeing. As a small business, it is hard to have a brick and mortar but Progoti helped us break into the market, which allowed us to connect with other small businesses. Similarly, these businesses may ethically produce their products in different countries or have a social mission they are trying to pursue. Through a common belief in sustainable, local, and handmade products, we came together to share one space. We take pride in building strong relationships with other ethically sourced small businesses with whom we met during vendor markets in various parts of the GTA. As small businesses, we know the challenges that come with being able to display products in a physical space due to the sheer infrastructure costs. That is why we decided to partner up with other small businesses who are just as passionate as us to create the space known as the Ethical Local Market. We are proud of our connections with our members and continue to work together to provide a place for the neighbourhood. It wouldn’t be possible to make a tangible difference alone, but together we can.

This space has allowed our small business and other small businesses to flourish alongside us. We see the importance of working together with other small businesses and creating a partnership that lets us all grow in our respective ways. Our bond helps make a difference to so many people who are connected to our work. We believe that if we work together as a team, we can access more neighbourhoods and provide more ethical and sustainable products for a wider audience. We look forward to having ELM continue to provide a space for the neighbourhood, especially our furry friends (we are a pet-friendly store!). The support we’ve received from our customers is phenomenal. ELM is a space we built on a vision but it continues to make an impact because of our customers. By supporting us, our customers are supporting a larger cause. We are excited to see where this endeavour will continue to take us as we try to change the world, one small step at a time with your help. After all, we are always rooting for each other at ELM. 


By Arpita Quadir