Hi! It’s April, CEO and Founder at Nearby.
I founded Nearby in the earliest months of the pandemic, rooted in a desire to “do something” when it was clear that so many people and businesses were hurting. It just makes sense that there should be a place online where you can shop from the stores in your own town, in one cart, and get it delivered to your doorstep.
Nearby’s mission is to empower local businesses and the people who love them — and there are a lot of you who do. Our team has heard from people across the globe who wanted Nearby or something like it for their own towns, marrying convenient online shopping with an easier, more economically viable way for independent retailers to sell online.
Over 100 merchants in the Bay Area and Austin made a bet on our pilot marketplaces, and have been inspiring partners from whom we’ve learned over the past year. A team of 20 Nearby team members have joined on this mission, and incredible investors gave us the runway to take a big swing at this immensely difficult but also massive opportunity. An amazing cast of advisors and friends helped us along the way.
As shutdowns have eased, vaccines have arrived, and kids have returned to school, so have many of our old habits we missed — including shopping at our favorite local stores, in person. As we’ve approached our second holiday season at Nearby, I’ve taken stock of our traction to date — and faced the facts that the need for what we’re building has waned and it’s time for us to bow out.
All of this is wind up to share the following: we are going to stop taking orders on Nearby Bay Area and Nearby ATX by the end of this week.
To the customers who have shopped with us — thank you. To the sellers who’ve partnered with us — thank you. Go buy your holiday gifts from them! Whether in person, or online, these merchants pour heart, soul, and great taste into the products they make or curate. We’ll be linking to all of our sellers in the Bay Area and Austin so you can easily find them.
I also want to take a moment to express love and gratitude to the Nearby team. These amazing folks who took an admirable leap — to build something really hard and complex from scratch, during a garbage fire year for the history books. We’ve had meetings interrupted by insurrections, wildfires, power outages, Covid scares, personal tragedies, and more. The humans on this team are resilient, optimistic, and incredible, and will bring their talents and passions to new missions after we’ve wrapped up our work here.
While the Nearby chapter is coming to a close, shopping local remains one of the easiest ways you can support your local community and the people behind those businesses. Every purchase makes a difference. May the spirit of seeing the humans in our community more clearly stick around long after the memories of the past year fade. Long live local.