In the Humminghill Farm blog series, we try to highlight the partnerships, but especially the amazing people who help us in our project. Without Virginia Wilson, our project probably would have remained a nice hobby. We asked Lovania Fortin to do a portrait interview with her. It's our way of saying thank you for being the first to open the doors of her store, but also of her online store, which allowed us to sell our vinegars to VANCOUVER !!!
But who is Virgnia Wilson?
Virginia is a native of the Eastern Townships and has always been close to the region's producers. Among other things, she has worked with Union libre, a wine and cider producer, and knows the local winegrowers well. In addition to her career in marketing, she has always had the idea of combining her love for the Townships with her ability to bring a product to market. The e-townships project had been in her mind since 2012 and everything seemed to line up for her to open her business in September 2020.
In March 2020, things take a different turn and being faced with the difficult reality of small producers and artisans in the area, e-townships are emerging faster than expected. In the wake of the events, initiatives such as Maturin and Le Panier Bleu are put in place, but do not necessarily reflect the reality of the majority of small entrepreneurs for whom it is unrealistic to respect the minimum quantities required to be listed there.
Initially, the e-townships website served mainly as a central point to find the opening hours of all the traders in the area who had to adapt quickly to government measures arising from the pandemic. Virginia personally updated all schedules daily so that local consumers would not come to their favorite stores and find themselves empty-handed. At this time, the online store is offering more and more products and in July 2020, the physical store opens its doors.
During our discussion, I realize that Virginia, beyond being the owner of a new kind of general store, is above all a facilitator for all those little ones who are trying to break into a world dominated by giants. Its primary mission: to democratize local purchasing. It is also for this reason that in his shop, we find entry-level products, as well as luxury products. It is possible for everyone to find something for themselves.
She often has the role of mentor, helping certain producers with their accounting, their product development, their distribution, as well as their marketing. With her team, she sometimes even goes directly to the producer with her trailer to collect the products. For her, the concept of exclusivity is not really one. The more people here have visibility, the stronger the feeling of accomplishment.
Beyond its close link with many producers and artisans, Virginia makes a point of offering excellent working and living conditions to its employees. They are in constant training and it is important for her to guide them, as much as possible, in their evolution. Since she has a full time job herself, they are the key to the success of e-townships.
“With Maxime, it was a yes straight away! I have great respect for his love of quality products, his reputation and his commitment to the Bolton-Ouest collective . He has always been a loyal customer who is particularly fond of e-townships, and his product is just great. I don't know where he finds the time to make so many beautiful projects concrete! "
It is thanks to people like Virginia that our region can showcase all the talent that is there. We are fervent fans of his dedication and could not have chosen a better partner for the very first showcase of our vinegars.
The medium-term e-township projects? Nothing less than a terrace this summer, where it will be possible to taste and discover new products. In "take-out" mode, COVID-19 requires, but without making the experience any less pleasant. Live music, a fresh vegetable market and many other great surprises await us in Knowlton this summer. Locals, this is a destination to add to your itinerary!
For Richard and me, e-townships is a bit like the Rose Apothecary of the series 'Schitt's Creek' from Knowlton; a place where the community crosses paths during a purchase ... and where it is good to meet up, have a chat for a coffee, and get back on the road!