Andrew McClymont, U.S. goodMix founder, reports that online orders for goodMix, the crunchy blend of prebiotic fiber that is good for the gut and made in Waitsfield, are up.
McClymont and his wife, Rania, and 10-month-old son, Monty, are staying home and safe in Moretown with a few forays to the post office and FedEx delivery sites to ship product.
He’s been in production at the Mad River Food Hub since moving to Vermont from Australia when Rania, a native of East Timor, got a scholarship to St. Michael’s College in 2016.
“I found the Mad River Food Hub via a Google search of how to make food in Vermont and came directly to Waitsfield to check out the premises and meet the owner, Robin Morris, who was a great help in getting goodMix up and running,” McClymont said.
The ability to store his ingrediants at the food hub and pay rent only when he needed to produce product made starting the company more feasible, he said. Things have been going well with the business growing slowly but surely until mid-March.
"When the virus appeared in China few people took it as seriously. Then it began to hit Italy hard and things started to look real. It was only a matter of time before it would upend our lives. I drove down to Boston to restock the retailers we supply there, then came back and mixed up a good pile of inventory so as not to have to be moving around any more than necessary once the restrictions were implemented,” McClymont explained.
Fortunately for McClymont, he also sells goodMix online as well as in stores and at farmers’ markets close by, including the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market.
UPTICK IN ONLINE SALES
“We are very lucky to have had an uptick in online orders over the last few weeks. It’s hard to say if this is due to regular customers stocking up or new customers finding the brand online for the first time. It looks like a bit of both so hopefully the new ones keep coming. Ironically, the most successful channel online right now is Amazon moreso than the goodMixfoods website. Although Amazon is the anathema of small local businesses, love them or hate them, it can work well for some products and does give very small local brands like goodMix the opportunity to sell across the country,” McClymont said.
He would rather see people buy goodMix from The Warren Store or Mehuron’s, but the people in California and Florida can’t, so Amazon makes a lot of sense, he said.
McClymont is optimistic that he and his wife may be able to nurse the business through this crisis by focusing on growing online sales and trying to keep overhead as low as possible.
“Last year we had two part-time employees and this year it will probably be just myself and maybe one part-time employee instead. I’m not much of a computer guy; it’s not my natural habitat, but it looks like I'm going to have to get used to it at least for the time being if we are gonna make it work. I can’t afford to splash much on IT consultants right now so I just hire them to help with the important stuff when I can.”
As for how they’re coping beyond the business, McClymont said, “We’re both fairly low-stress people even though it’s a predicament. We’re taking every day as it comes. We have food on the table. We’re doing OK,” he said.