Small businesses from Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C will get tools they need to thrive in a changing marketplace
After reviewing hundreds of applications, Shipt is excited to announce the selection of 10 small businesses for the first class of LadderUp — Shipt’s innovative new accelerator program. LadderUp is one of the key commitments to combating food insecurity that our CEO announced at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health last fall, along with additional initiatives such as expanding access to healthy foods on our app and funding research into food insecurity.
These 10 businesses from Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, Houston and Washington, D.C. have strong ties to their local communities and shared compelling entrepreneurial stories in their applications. Like Shipt, many of these businesses want to help address food insecurity in their communities.
“Here at Shipt, we want to do our part to advance economic opportunities for underrepresented communities, and LadderUp is a key initiative to do exactly that by offering e-commerce education and resources to these businesses,” said Shipt Chief People and Community Officer, Amy Benson. “We are honored and very excited to work with this group of small business leaders and help them better serve their communities.”
Shipt is also very proud to have met our goal of reaching at least 50% LGBTQ+ and BIPOC participation in the program. In fact, 60% of LadderUp retailers fall into at least one of these categories.
These businesses will participate in an eight-week program to get the tools they need to thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace, learning from industry leaders on topics like driving sustainable growth, building a financial foundation, creating efficiency, marketing, e-commerce and the basic legal knowledge needed to run a business. Shipt is excited to help these grocery, health + wellness, and floral/gifts small businesses set themselves up for success in the coming weeks.
Meet the selected small businesses and read why they are excited about going through LadderUp:
Little Redbox Grocery: Calling itself “the anti-grocery grocery store,” Little Redbox Grocery tailors its offerings to the needs of its surrounding Houston community, serving residents who may not have access to grocery stores. Setting up a brick and mortar store was step one, and now Little Redbox Grocery is looking to add online ordering and curbside pickup to strengthen its offerings and serve more of Houston.
“Little Red Box Grocery, a neighborhood market located in Houston's Second Ward, is thrilled to participate in Shipt's LadderUp accelerator. We are in the business of building community health through good food access; in order to do that best, we must engage others in this space who share our view that food deserts don’t have to exist if we let imagination, innovation, and collaboration prevail. Together, with Shipt's expertise and alongside our fellow participants in this inaugural cohort, we believe that we can change the expectation of what good food access can look like... in every neighborhood.” - Sam Newman, owner of Little Red Box Grocery
Aurora Market: Located in our nation’s capital, Aurora Market is an organic grocery working with members of underserved communities in food deserts, curating its produce according to the needs of its customers. With the help of LadderUp, Aurora Market is excited to connect with a community of peers who are navigating the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
“We are excited to participate in the LadderUp Program to work alongside of aspiring underserved entrepreneurs and with Shipt to boost our small business growth. As entrepreneurs we know the challenges of walking a lonely road and believe in the power of being apart of like-minded community that is driven by results. Shipt provides access to a spirited entrepreneurial community and without question will become a catalyst to our success.” - Pablo Ortiz Jr., owner of Aurora Market
Carver Neighborhood Market: Recognizing the important role that small businesses play in their communities, the founders of Carver Neighborhood Market hope to become a community pillar in Atlanta. Carver Neighborhood Market doesn’t want to wait until big businesses decide to move into their area, they want to step up where others have not.
“Carver Market has served our community well for the past decade. However, one area we need to grow and improve on is e-commerce. The ease of shopping from home and picking up groceries would make life even easier for our customers!” - Jeff Delp, Director of Economic Development for Carver Neighborhood Market
Leafy Greens Market: Seeing the disconnect between the food in grocery stores and the needs of its community, Leafy Greens opened its doors in Atlanta during the pandemic to give people access to fresh fruits and vegetables. LadderUp will help the market learn how to effectively add delivery — not only expanding the community they serve, but also help their business grow.
“The first is that I think this program will help me grow as a business partner. The second is that I truly believe I have something to contribute to our community.” - Jasann Gilliam, owner of Leafy Greens Market
Marrow Detroit Provisions: Inspired by markets in Singapore, Marrow Detroit Provisions is looking to give Detroiters access to healthier, cleaner meats. The store is currently Detroit’s only butcher shop and is looking to expand their reach to allow all community members to be able to purchase fresh and locally sourced meat.
“As a proud Asian woman business owner in a field traditionally dominated by men, I am honored to have been selected for the Shipt accelerator program. My business, Marrow Detroit Provisions, is growing beyond its roots as a butcher shop, and this program will provide us with valuable technical assistance and mentorship. I am excited to learn about the latest practices that can help us expand our customer base and revenue opportunities.” - Ping Ho, owner of Marrow Detroit
Fresh Houwse Grocery: Located in the heart of Houston, Fresh Houwse Grocery has set itself up as a community mainstay. It’s a place where people come to shop, chat, and learn about what’s going on in the community. Fresh Houwse is looking forward to gaining skills to keep the store running smoothly and shelves constantly stocked.
“We are excited to participate in the Shipt Ladder Up Program. This program will provide many opportunities for us to learn ways to enhance our business. We will be able to make effective improvements to assist in the growth of our community. This program is a holistic approach to building capacity for local small businesses.” - Jeremy Peaches, owner of Fresh Houwse Grocery
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Pillar & Pride: Noticing the lack of health related offerings in Detroit, Pillar & Pride took a leap and opened a store focused on wellness, education and empowerment. A place where customers are family, Pillar & Pride wants to be a home for anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle through access to books, vitamin supplements, food, and much more. Looking to keep up with recent growth, Pillar & Pride is excited to learn how to expand its e-commerce capabilities.
“Pillar and Pride is a family-owned, health and wellness business located in the city of Detroit. We are excited to participate in the Shipt Ladder Up acceleration program because it provides us with an opportunity to learn and grow with fellow entrepreneurs. Additionally, working with a world class technology and services company like Shipt will undoubtedly expose Pillar and Pride to best practices that will contribute to growing our ability to serve more customers on their wellness journeys in an impactful way.” - Tyree Williams, owner of Pillar & Pride
Bama Health Foods LLC: A Birmingham based health food store, Bama Health Foods supports the west side of the city, focusing on the BIPOC community who often lack access to nutritious foods. With LadderUp, Bama Health Foods is looking to expand their online presence and reach, serving other under-resourced communities they may not be reaching through their physical store.
“Bama Health Foods is excited to be accepted into the LadderUp program by Shipt because we see the value and need to be able to reach our customers in various ways in order to meet their wellness needs. It is our mission to help be part of the solution, ensuring health equity for all. As a women-owned business, we will be able to share our knowledge with other small businesses as well in order to strengthen our minority-owned business ecosystem.” - Jacquie Fazekas, owner of Bama Health Foods LLC
Grace’s Nutrition Market: Looking to help people reach their health and wellness goals, Grace’s Nutrition Market has been promoting beauty, health and wellness amongst the people of Houston for over 40 years. The store is a community pillar, always meeting customers' needs. However, with a changing customer population, Grace’s Nutrition Market is looking forward to learning how to serve younger generations.
“I am excited about The LadderUp Program and I know it will be a life-changing experience for me. When it comes to running a small business, it is extremely important to stay informed about industry trends, marketing conditions and evolving technology, while being able to adapt to change in this time and age. Having the opportunity to be involved with industry e-commerce retail experts as mentors and advisors to provide guidance and valuable insights for running my business more successfully is absolutely priceless! Learning how to overcome technological obstacles is vital, this is truly a blessing as I am cognizant of the expenses associated with seeking this kind of mentorship. Additionally, small businesses don't always have the support systems needed to achieve online business goals. The resources and help to reach my community and a wider customer audience in this outlined program is a game-changer for taking my business to the next level. I know it will significantly impact my life. I am looking forward to the invaluable guidance and mentorship.” - Michelle Garcia, owner of Grace’s Nutrition Market
FLORAL AND GIFTS
House Plant Collective: An indoor plant retailer, House Plant Collective sells house plants around Alabama. Throughout the pandemic, the team at House Plant Collective had to navigate turning their in-person shopping experience into an online store. LadderUp will help them strengthen their online presence and expand their marketing.
“House Plant Collective is very excited to be selected for the first cohort of Shipt's LadderUp accelerator program! As a retail plant shop based in Birmingham, we believe this program will help take HPC to the next level by sharing the joy of house plants with others nationwide by shipping a variety of tropical indoor plants and botanical goods.” - Jessica Watts, owner of House Plant Collective