Today’s food producers are constantly competing for shelf space. Products need to be clearly differentiated to stand out and so does their branding.
Josh Lines from Sarnia saw the gap on Ontario’s hot sauce shelf. Sure, there are a variety of brands with mashed up hot peppers in vinegar, but they all lacked substance and none of them had nutritional value. This gap in the market quickly turned into Josh’s opportunity, and Top Shelf Collection was born.
Josh uses all-natural ingredients to ensure the product has the freshest, boldest flavour. Then, he uses Canadian honey (not refined sugar) to add a slight sweet touch to his hot sauces.
Josh has worked in the food industry his entire career, bartending at the local pub. If you know anything about bartenders, then you know they’re fun, chatty and extremely likeable. So it should be no surprise that as a bartender of Sarnia’s local watering hole, he pretty much knows the whole town. Because of this, Top Shelf’s beginning success started in Sarnia when local businesses showed their support by stocking Front Street Heat on their retail shelves and enhancing menus (and the Canadian Caesar) across town.
It was no surprise that Top Shelf sauces didn’t stay a secret for long. Front Street Heat’s quality ingredients and catchy branding caught the interest of neighbouring restaurants and retailers in other cities, who were making room on their top shelf for this hot Canadian condiment.
The Problem All Food Suppliers Actually Want
Top Shelf premium hot sauce gained demand faster than anticipated. He had a website but no formal ordering or delivery process for his customers. And because Josh is always thinking forward, he knew he wanted to launch two partner programs to selected customers which includes an awesome handcrafted wooden display shelf, menu and social media collaborations and discounted pricing. He had all the right ideas, just no platform to bring them to life.
Local Line or Life Line?
Josh saw immediate value in Local Line’s easy-to-use platform.
“The team at Local Line has simplified our challenges and organized what was unorganized. Through incredible hands on customer service, they helped put our business on track during a difficult period of product growth. Truly a life line for a small but growing business.” — Josh, Top Shelf Collection
Here are a few examples of how Josh uses Local Line for his rapidly growing business:
Josh got immediate value with Local Line’s unique private pricing catalogs that can be geared specifically to his different and ever-growing customer list.
Once he quickly and efficiently uploaded his products (2L jugs and 296 ml bottles), he created catalogs for his retail, wholesale and partner customers. He then added his customers into his Local Line account, assigned them to appropriate catalogs, and sent invites to their inboxes.
Josh took advantage of Local Line's web services, and gave his website a fresh look. He also took his Local Line store and embedded it right on his website so that his customers were only seeing the Top Shelf brand when they were ordering. Everyone from small independents to Metro stores across Ontario are able to place their orders directly on the Top Shelf website. This kind of ordering experience is critical, because it enables both consumers and his wholesale customers to order directly from his website, enforcing a consistent brand and experience.
The nice thing about Local Line is that the platform is built to grow with your business. This means Josh has new services available to him that become important the more momentum his brand gains.
With no plans to slow down anytime soon, Josh knows Local Line has his back and can grow with his business. To learn more about Top Shelf Collection hot sauce, visit their website here.
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Matt joined the Local Line team in its early days as Product Designer, designing the software and making sure it met the needs of local food suppliers.