All Things Organic Blog
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2018 – A Year of Change at All Things OrganicJanuary 23rd, 2018 | by Mel-Lynda Andersen | in ATO Life | 0
Can you believe it’s almost the end of January?! With every year that goes by, time seems to pass a little bit more quickly, especially this past year. 2017 was a big year for a lot of reasons. We lost some loved ones over the past year, and we welcomed some precious new babies, including our very own grandson – Carlyle Frederick, son to our daughter Alicia Kauffman who has been so instrumental to All Things Organic in Langley over the years. Alicia left ATO in June of last year, and loves her life as a happy full-time mom to two beautiful kids. We couldn’t be happier for her. After Alicia’s departure, we brought in my brother Todd, who has helped us keep things running at ATO. We appreciate everything Todd does to help us and our customers, and he has been a big support as we stepped back to make a big decision. Ultimately, 2017 was indeed a year for big decisions – and the big decision we made as a family also happens to be the most difficult.
We are sad to announce that we have decided to close All Things Organic. This lovely little composting business that my dad started some 30 years ago has contributed so much to the organic community – both in terms of improved soil quality and in educating people about the importance of composting. My parents worked very hard over more than two decades to introduce people to the beneficial practice of worm composting and composting in general. Part educator, part scientist, part entrepreneur, my dad proved to be a very tough act to follow.
When my folks decided it was time to slow down a little, we offered to take over the business, move it to Langley, and carry on this fine family tradition. It’s been a fun, challenging, and educating decade. We have learned so much about the natural world and the world of business, including (especially?) the challenges of running a business online. We soon learned that running a business with a virtual storefront is not an easy task. We faced obstacles, and learned countless lessons. We also met many wonderful people, especially our customers, along the way.
There are many reasons why we were not able to keep this wonderful business thriving. The online world has changed, and keeping a little business like ATO from disappearing in Google’s massive search engine turned out to be a much more difficult and expensive challenge than I had ever first imagined. The physical world has also changed, and many municipal managers have opted for curbside collection programs, requiring people to mix their green waste with all other food waste and a big truck would take it away each week, where it would be cooked and rendered into “compost”. This is not the same type of compost I was brought up producing. Worms are also getting harder and harder to find – especially at a price that our customers can afford.
We have certainly made our share of mistakes, but throughout this journey our hearts have been in the right place. We truly wanted to grow All Things Organic, or at the very least, ensure it could remain a viable business. Unfortunately, our sales kept dropping year over year, and even when we injected more money into a new website and social media presence, we just couldn’t break even.
I have known for a while that we needed to make this sad decision, but it is really hard to say goodbye to a company that my dad started himself. It’s hard to admit failure. It was hard to face my parents with such sad news, and it’s hard now, sharing share this news with our valued customers. I’m sorry we couldn’t make this company successful.
Over the next few months, our website will change, although you will still find us online at the same website; it just won’t have as many bells and whistles. If you are looking for a worm bin, compost collector, or other product, give us a call, and we can still help you out. Perhaps most importantly, our little worm community will be moving to Williams Lake. It will be taken over by one of our best and longest-standing customers, Mary Forbes from Cariboo Conservation Society’s Waste Wise program. Mary is a tireless composting educator and advocate for composting, green living, and resource conservation. We know our worms will be in good hands with Mary and her husband Pierre.
I write this message today with a heavy heart, and I hope our customers understand that we did not make this decision lightly. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers who have been so wonderful to us over the years. Thank you for showing us that individuals can and do make a positive difference in this world. We appreciate each one of you!
Even though All Things Organic is hanging up its shingle, we encourage you to please keep on composting. Our planet needs us all to do everything we can to nourish the soil and reduce our carbon footprint.