US (MI): Detroit Rising joins online farmers market to supply its fresh produce

Automotive suppliers made face masks and shields during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in response to shortages for personal protection equipment. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. got into the ventilator-assembly business. Skidmore Studio, a longtime Detroit-based brand-building creative agency that has its roots in automotive advertising, launched a fresh food distribution business called during the peak of the coronavirus shutdowns this spring.

"It doesn't sound like something that would be a natural fit, right?" Skidmore Studio president and owner Drew Patrick said in an interview on the Detroit Rising podcast. But the idea that Skidmore Studio could set up and operate a grocery delivery business wasn't too far afield for a creative design company that works with packaged food brands. Skidmore had a plan on the drawing board for creating its own food brand, Patrick said.

When the pandemic forced shutdowns of nonessential businesses in March, the team at Skidmore started considering how to pivot into different lines of work using their know-how for building a brand. "When March rolled around and the world changed, we said, 'What are we going to do to make sure that we're not only surviving but thriving coming out of this situation and how are we going to stay in business over the next two months knowing a lot of our clients are probably going to slow down with needs from us?'" Patrick said

Instead of launching its own food brand, Skidmore Studio's designers built an e-commerce website for selling fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and dairy from Michigan farmers and food processors. The farmers and food companies selling their products on include fresh chicken from Double L Farms in Cadillac, milk and dairy products from Guernsey Farms Dairy in Northville, fresh breads from Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, bacon from Jake's Country Meats in Cassopolis and microgreens from Planted Detroit's indoor grow facility on the city's east side. 

Read more at Crain's Detroit Business (Chad Livengood)

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