Customers were surprised to find Real Food Connections unexpectedly closed Wednesday morning. A sign on the door of the Saint John location read, “Closed for the day, November 30 — sorry for any inconvenience.”
Late Wednesday evening, the reason for the sudden closure was revealed, in a note posted on social media and the Real Food Connections website. In the note, company founder Levi Lawrence announced that Real Food Connections would be closing, effective immediately, after 6.5 years in business.
Real Food Connections operates retail stores in Fredericton and Saint John, and an additional food box program in Moncton. The company, funded partly through government grants and crowdfunding, sought to bring local New Brunswick food producers and consumers together in one place.
Lawrence cites financial challenges as the reason for the closure, writing, “Many of our financial challenges actually come from past hardships and decisions that did not develop as desired. It is also very likely that right from the outset we did not source enough capital, or properly respect the amount of logistics and shear difficulty of our proposed goals”.
Lawrence says the decision was a very difficult one, and admits that they will not be able to pay out all suppliers. A hard decision, certainly, but one that would be much more difficult down the road.
“Continuing without confidence that we have a larger financial solution in the coming months would only impact our suppliers more negatively and we just cannot continue to purchase from our many local businesses if we are not confident that they will see payment in the future“.
As for what the future holds, Lawrence writes, “It is my heartfelt desire that we can find some way to preserve some of the learnings, experience, systems, team and equipment in such a way that they can continue in a positive, productive effort along these lines but it will not be possible under the current stewardship of Real Food Connections.”