Pedalling to promote local business

Do you dread the trek out into the snow to pick up groceries or crave sushi but can’t bring yourself to change out of your pyjamas? For $4, you no longer have to.

Eli Scheinman and his entourage of fellow cyclists will brave the snow for you. As the founder of Spoke and Fork, 27-year-old Scheinman has introduced Kingston to an innovative and sustainable method of delivery services.

Spoke and Fork is a bicycle delivery company elevating the traditional delivery services. They not only provide restaurant deliveries, but will also pick up your grocery lists, pet food and even alcohol. Focused on enriching Kingston with an environmentally sustainable delivery system, the service aims to make local restaurants more available to Queen’s and the larger Kingston community.

Spoke and Fork collaborates exclusively with independent Kingston businesses that are more likely to use organic produce. By concentrating largely on independent businesses, Scheinman wants to contribute to the local economy. Atomica, Pan Chancho and Tara’s Natural Foods are just a few of the places they’ve partnered with. Although Scheinman recognizes that many of these businesses may be priced above student budgets, he isn’t worried.

“[Students] are discerning and mature about what they eat and enjoy,” he said.

Scheinman, who completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia, is also a holistic lifestyle coach. “The west coast got the best of me in exploring healthy lifestyles, exercise and diet,” he said.

It wasn’t until after graduation when he embarked on a cycling trail from Vancouver to San Diego that the spark for Spoke and Fork was ignited.

“I was in a café [in San Francisco] and there were all these bike messengers,” he said. “They seemed to be living a pretty fun life. Seeing that and then having cultivated a passion in my own life for the environment, for sustainability and for healthy lifestyle molded … into wanting to create something where I could apply my passions in my work.”

He then moved back to his hometown of Kingston where he created Spoke and Fork.

As expected, the biggest challenge remains keeping warm and being able to bike efficiently in this snowy and icy weather.

“It’s just become normal. I’ve just adapted,” Scheinman said. Despite the sometimes less-than-ideal conditions, deliveries only take approximately half an hour.

Only a little over two months old, Spoke and Fork has already evolved from being a one-man operation to a team of three.

Having received a positive response from the Kingston community, Scheinman hopes to expand his team and bring in more bikers as demand grows.

Already, he’s had several Queen’s students join his team. While they’ll be mostly focusing on cementing a committed delivery system, Spoke and Fork will also be offering their own products in the future.

“We really want to enrich the Queen’s community especially with some of the best restaurants Kingston has.”

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