When you drive through the leafy suburb of Randpark you will maybe notice the community’s parks, people (now) walking their dogs, cyclists and walkers of all ages.
You might also notice the impressive entrance to the prestigious Randpark Club, with its two world-class golf courses, and the internationally renowned Fairway Hotel adjacent to the golf club.
But there is no town square.
The Covod-19 lockdown has produced many frustrations for our beautiful country and its people, but a long-time couple residing in Randpark decided to do something positive and helpful to their community. Thus, TownSquare.co.za was born.
TownSquare.co.za is an online shop products and services made and offered by residents within a 5km radius of the suburb.
“Born out of seeing our neighbours being retrenched, or losing clients because of lockdown, and the depressing reality of month after month, seeing more pleas for help with money, food or clothes, my husband and I decided on an online shop as so many of our neighbours were baking, making, repairing, and selling whatever they could to help bring in a supplemental income to ease the financial burden of the lockdown,” says Christelle Bure.
“We have lived in our community for 25 years, and have seen it evolve, grow, and now be brought to its knees. I know I speak for all of us when I say every time we help someone, we know it is temporary, and it only helps them for this meal, or this week, or this child. The old adage of ‘Give a man a fish, he has food for one day; teach him how to fish, and he has food for a lifetime’ was haunting us – and that is how TownSquare was born.”
Believing in micro-economies and abundance, and that every single person has a skill needed by someone else, Christelle and her husband Geoff Nell decided to create a central point, where the community could get together and support each other.
“We created the e-commerce store, and very quickly word started spreading, and before it was even functional, members of the community started popping up and creating their own stores on the site. We are flinging our doors open to customers on 1 July, and started running our Facebook and Google campaigns immediately.
“Our 30+ Community Sales Partners have stocked their shelves with just under 200 unique products. These range from a knitted tea cosy by an 83-year-old lady, to beautiful artwork, Eco cleaning and gardening products, beauticians, wood-workers and natural healing products. New sales partners and products are coming on board daily.
“To get started and give the community a boost, sellers in our community get an initial free store, where they can add up to 10 unique products. Now we need to provide them with customers,” says Christelle.