A proposal is taking form for a micro-fulfilment centre tailor-made to Vancouver Island companies as they transfer into the extremely aggressive on-line market.
A feasibility examine and in-depth marketing strategy are nonetheless to be accomplished, however Corry Hostetter — who heads up the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce’s Oceanside Initiatives business-attraction technique behind the mission — is optimistic concerning the centre, deliberate for Snaw-naw-as First Nation land within the Nanoose Bay space.
The Nanoose First Nation Financial Growth Corp. has agreed to erect a 20,000-square-foot modular warehouse, Hostetter mentioned.
“We really feel very assured that that is going to go ahead,” she mentioned Friday. “If it helps enterprise on Vancouver Island, and permits enterprise to scale up with on-line gross sales, then we imagine that it’s going to be a win-win for everyone.”
When the pandemic hit final yr, Hostetter’s group checked out methods to assist space firms and found that, with fewer prospects coming by means of the doorways on account of new well being measures, almost all of them have been seeking to begin promoting their merchandise on-line. “So what we did is we helped companies by means of that problem.” However because the weeks handed, native companies bumped into issues similar to supply-chain gaps, excessive delivery prices and lack of warehouse house for storing merchandise.
Some enterprise operators have been unable to proceed with on-line gross sales, as a result of they needed to pack orders whereas nonetheless operating their shops, then ship them for delivery.
“All of us thought: ‘Wouldn’t or not it’s nice to have some kind of fulfilment centre on the Island?’ ” mentioned Hostetter, who believes the proposed facility can be distinctive.
“There are warehouses on Vancouver Island and there are supply specialists, however there isn’t something that’s precisely like what we’re proposing.”
Fulfilment centres assist firms with on-line gross sales by storing merchandise, packing it up when orders are available and delivery it at a decrease price than for particular person packages as a result of they’ll negotiate on quantity. The Island centre would ship merchandise regionally and use different supply companies to distribute extra distant orders.
Whereas it will think about serving companies north of the Malahat, southern Vancouver Island retailers can be welcome to make use of the centre, Hostetter mentioned.
A preliminary marketing strategy was drawn up and an utility for a B.C. Restoration Grant has been authorized for $602,000.
The grant to the Parksville Chamber was amongst 38 rural initiatives that acquired a complete of $20 million to assist communities get well from the financial hit delivered by the virus.
Grant cash would initially cowl such bills as infrastructure, provides, gear and hiring employees. As soon as the centre is absolutely operational, it might require anyplace from 15 to 75 employees, Hostetter mentioned.
The fulfilment centre would doubtless start working later in 2022, transferring to full operations in 2023, she mentioned.
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