When COVID-19 shut down nearly everything in the spring of 2020, Mike Lepage recognized a unique business opportunity. Scrambling to buy a birthday gift for his fiancée, Lepage reached out to several local businesses but found it very tedious to organize the purchase and delivery of products. Knowing there could be a better way to navigate this time-consuming approach, Mike and his father, Chuck, reached out to Sara Wheelwright from Trusted Marketing Services, and together, they started building Local House.
“I kept wishing there was a marketplace and delivery system for local business,” Mike Lepage explains. “I had been sitting on the Local House URL for a while, so I did some research on the concept, and there wasn’t anything quite like it yet.”
Local House is an online shopping hub that makes supporting local businesses simple. Think of it as a virtual shopping mall: locally owned and operated businesses throughout Saskatoon and Regina sign up to be merchants, and on the flip side, shoppers have the ease of ordering from multiple stores and know exactly where they’re purchasing products from.
“When you look at Amazon, it’s all product-based,” Lepage says. “We want to make this for local businesses. You can look at their business profile, so merchants don’t lose their identities.”
For business owners, Local House is currently offering their platform for free until March 1st, 2021. “We want to be there to help local businesses, especially during these challenging times,” Lepage says. In support of the shop local movement, stores must be locally owned and operated to be a part of the Local House ecosystem.
For consumers, the platform is hosted on the website for now, but app development is in progress. Local House will be offering same day or next day delivery to provide instant gratification and make shopping locally quick and seamless.
Local House has already been in conversation with government agencies who are curious to see where this is going to go and how the platform will succeed in the province. The team plans to expand as quickly as they can within Saskatchewan, then nationally, and eventually branch out internationally.
They have launched in Saskatoon and Regina, and Lepage has highlighted the great opportunity to help the Saskatchewan economy. “People are spending their money here, so our goal is to support that instead of people having to go out of market for what they need,” Lepage shares. “Local House is giving the option to buy locally and support businesses that they know on a personal level.”
Founders: Mike Lepage, Chuck Lepage
Incorporation Date: April 2020