There is an old proverb – necessity is the mother of invention. Well Covid -19 made it necessary and the result was quite innovative. As restrictions made the weekly market at Artisan Exchange (AE) go dark, thirty-five small businesses faced a devastating economic reality. If you are not familiar, the Artisan Exchange is a small business collaboration (heavily focused on handmade, all natural food production but there are some additional artisanal products as well including Pure Scents Candle Company). The artisan producers at AE utilize shared workspace, a robust distribution outlet, joint marketing and more, including a weekly Saturday market. NOTE: Artisan Exchange will hold an outdoor market beginning Saturday, June 6 at 10am.
Eventually options to sell products evaporated, the outlook was bleak for the organization and the partner small businesses. And then Jackie Baldassare took charge. Jackie is the daughter of AE Principals Frank and Maryanne Baldassare and youngest member of the AE team who joined the family business in June 2019 after graduating from Widener University with a degree in finance. Jackie has been involved in the original family business, Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, since she was a kid. She started by selling organic certified, Fair Trade, shade grown coffee at farms markets throughout the region. It was there she learned sales, marketing and an appreciation for entrepreneurs and the small business community.
By tapping into her entrepreneurial roots, within 2 weeks Jackie had an innovative sales solution – AEDirect. This online ordering system offers consumers a convenient, safe shopping experience and a marketplace to keep the member businesses afloat during the quarantine. AEDirect.shop offers a collection of goods including delicious prepared meals, snacks, desserts, fresh roasted coffee, local honey, eggs, milk and cheese and much more. Pick up at their West Chester location or delivery directly to your home is available.
Frank Baldassarre said “We are very proud of Jackie and her team’s tremendous effort in quickly solving a huge problem for an entire community by implementing and executing AEDirect. Through their efforts we now are able to deliver amazing products directly to customers while supporting over 35 local small business.”