Harvest Local Foods

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As environmentalists and lovers of healthy foods, Mary Ann Ford and Pam Nelson loved the idea of running a business that sells locally grown and produced products. Although they had no previous experience in owning or operating their own business, the opportunity to merge their passion for the environment and love of healthy foods was just too good to pass up.

However, they soon learned that owning one’s own business is not the easiest accomplishment. When asked what was the hardest part of owning a business, Ford replied, “Learning how to do everything!” Ford was not to be deterred, however, as she began honing her business skills by taking a six-week entrepreneurs' class at the Women’s Opportunity Resource Center in Philadelphia, learning different tactics as she went along. During this learning process, Ford was fortunate enough to meet her now business partner, Pam Nelson. Each of the women possesses different knowledge and skills that together allow them to run a very successful business, Harvest Local Foods.

Continuing on their journey of starting a business, Ford and Nelson become familiar with the Widener University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). As clients, they worked one-on-one with consultants to develop a business plan, analyze industry markets, and set up financial statements to project future profits. As continuing clients, they attended the Second Step: Financial Planning seminar at Widener’s center and were eventually able to expand the business and locate themselves in Lansdowne, PA.

Since the business got its start in 2006, this seller of local foods and produce has seen sales grow from $75,000 a year to $420,000 a year. The business was even named in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly as the best grocery delivery business. Harvest Local Foods has not only been successful as a business, but has also contributed greatly to the local community. Harvest works to increase the community’s knowledge of local foods. Its customers value the link that the business provides between their tables and their food sources. Ford and Nelson make it their mission to bring the local farmers and their work to life by building relationships and telling their stories.

The only thing for Ford and Nelson to do now is look towards the future, which appears very bright for Harvest Local Foods. Their goal is to grow the business to $1 million in sales.