Thompsontown Maple Products is a maple syrup farm located on a century farm in Lanark County, the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario. Started in 1982, Thompsontown reignited a tradition of making maple syrup on their family’s property that dates to 1843.

Thompsontown Maple Products is a pro at the COVID pivot. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were quick to transition to online sales with a new Shopify site, and were thrilled to be able to sell their maple products online throughout Ontario’s lockdowns.

At the same time, increased fees and absence of the need for in-person purchasing eventually led them to cancel their service with their previous point-of-sale (POS) provider, Moneris, leaving them without a POS system for their sugarbush.

Leann Thompson from Thompsontown explained they were looking for something that would not only allow them to take contactless payments at the sugarbush (when restrictions allowed for in-person visits), but they also needed something that would integrate inventory tracking and food safety tracing into their new Shopify site and payment system.

“We were also thinking about what we would eventually be able to use at markets,” said Leann. “We needed to be able to process payments without necessarily being at the sugar camp.”

Thompsontown Maple Products applied for and received Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) Digital Marketing Support Program to purchase POS hardware that would integrate with their existing online store. The new Shopify POS system allows Thompsontown to offer contactless pick-up and also process payments while away from the sugarbush, but the Shopify functionality also allows them to tag products within social media posts, and directly link to their store.

Working with OHTO throughout the grant process, from application submission to approval, and reporting, was easy and straightforward, Leann said.

“It’s wonderful working with OHTO,” said Leann. “There was a lot of information on the website before we made the application, and the turnaround was great. The support we had for that process in delivering the grant project was wonderful. OHTO is the first place we look for tourism support.”

Now that Thompsontown is a year in for their new website and online sales, they are now looking at figuring out a way to integrate wholesale sales into their inventory and website, and have the online system control inventory in all sales channels. They are also looking forward to using their new equipment at events like the Festival of the Maples in Perth, where they are a regular vendor, and other annual events, once COVID restrictions ease up.

“We want to look at what we did in the last year and see how we can optimize our approach to online sales,” said Leann. “We’re excited to try this process at events where having a POS option is a real game changer.”