Welcome to our newest series “We Are Co-ops” in which we profile our diverse membership and demonstrate the innovation the flexible co-op model supports and enables! This week, our Co-op Champion Madelyn Read, connected with Marc Baumann, member-owner of Shift Delivery, to learn about how they have been adapting to the COVID-19 crisis.
Marc Baumann and Shift Delivery
Shift Delivery is a worker-owned cooperative based in East Vancouver. You may have seen them around town on their distinctive trikes with trailers (cargo boxes) that can haul up to 500lbs of goods. Their goal is to replace truck delivery and reduce emissions in the downtown core, which they do by providing fast, reliable, and environmentally sustainable delivery with their trikes. Marc Baumann has been a member-owner with the co-op for three years. He is primarily responsible for sales and advertising, but he’s also out weekly on the trike doing deliveries.
Shifting In Response to COVID-19
Shift experienced a significant drop in their work in February and March as they lost half of their customers and had to stop non-essential deliveries. Normally, Shift offers a wide assortment of deliveries to various clients, but Baumann explained that they have had to put non-essential services on hold and refocus their energy on deliveries that are essential to the community. They have prioritized delivering SPUD, Food Stash Foundation, and Freshprep groceries, and increased their services to SROs in the Downtown Eastside and the Chinatown Seniors Meal Program. As they have adapted to the crisis, Shift has seen an increase in work in all capacities, which has actually made it possible to grow the business.
They have also needed to continually respond to rapidly changing health recommendations and regulations. As frontline workers, they have increased warehouse sanitation practices, recommended delivery drivers wear masks, and transitioned to contactless deliveries. While these practices maintain the safety of both workers and customers, Baumann highlighted the loss of community interactions and relationships that usually arise out of their deliveries. Shift is looking forward to rekindling this element of their service when it is possible.
“Crisis is always easier to navigate as a team.”
– Mark Baumann, Member-Owner of Shift Delivery
Shift, Adapt, and Overcome
When asked if Shift had any words of advice to offer other cooperatives in this time, Baumann said, “it may seem [clichéd], but you have to adapt and overcome,” further explaining that if you have the capacity, crisis is a chance to change and tackle different projects that may have previously been neglected. He also added that cooperatives have a particular advantage in these situations, because crisis is always easier to navigate as a team.
Stay Up-to-Date with Shift Delivery
If you are interested in keeping up-to-date with Shift’s activities, you can follow them on Instagram or on Facebook. If you would like to learn more about the co-op overall, you can visit Shift’s website.