🏅 We are debuting our series ‘Merchant of the Month’ with Bin Solutions, a local business created in Toronto by Zion Shraiter back in 2005.
If you’re from Toronto, you’ve probably seen some handy sheds around the city without knowing where it comes from and who’s behind it. You probably thought it’s quite ingenious though, since it keeps streets clean and free from hungry – and let’s be honest, annoying – raccoons. Not to mention it helps keep the garden tidy! Faced with the problem of litter scattered on the sidewalk and garbage cans piled up in front of the houses, Zion Shraiter, created Bin Solutions in the early 2000s.
Using grassroots marketing tactics, and perfecting his sheds through intensive trial and error, the second-time small business owner saw his business grow exponentially, reaching customers in New York, Maine, all the way down to Virginia. At one point, he even starred at Working Moms, a popular Netflix series shot in Toronto. He’s also listed at Home Stars, a ranking website for home improvement professionals, where he’s received the ‘Best Of Awards’ in 2019.
From being a messy city, to Bin Solutions cleaning up the streets
Zion explains that when he arrived from Israel, he saw a Toronto that was suffering from a bad case of littered landscape. Raccoons would go through the trash, making a mess out of the garbage. Added to that, rain and snow made a nightmare duo. In other words, handling garbage had become a nightmare for all neighborhoods.
Driven by quality workmanship and bringing some experience as a previous business owner in Israel, he created a solution to Toronto’s local needs.
From conception to take off
Everything started out of Zion’s own garage. He partnered with a designer and began conceptualizing the sheds. + who else? With each prototype created, they tested it to make sure the glue bonded and that the weatherproof routine was right. Until they were satisfied the product would meet the client’s needs.
The design was made to be customizable through the implementation of clever shelves. But, it was their key unique features that quickly won clients over. These included a lock mechanism that’s 100% raccoon-proof, a durability, as well as its versatility. The sheds are storage solutions not only for garbage, but also for recycling bins, bikes, strollers, garden tools and more.
The sheds are stylish and long lasting, made of high quality 100% cedar. Zion explains that there’s no need to re-buy on a yearly basis, and issues are solved for no extra fees. Once they got the nitty-gritty handled down to a tee, they started building around one dozen bins per week in 2006. Today, that number has quadrupled.
Marketing tactics – getting the word out
Zion explains that his promotional tactics back then were quite simple. He had to use the tools at his disposal, and if that meant creating a billboard on the side of his truck to grab people’s attention, well that’s what he did.
“I would park at strategic locations during rush hour, when people were coming back from work. On the side of my truck I had a billboard and inside I always had a shed to show for those that stopped to ask.”
But he didn’t stop there. He hand delivered advertising postcard to hundreds of mailboxes, then shifting to selected postal codes in broader portion out of the GTA. And to get the word out, he would continuously talk from neighbour to neighbour about his solution, his Bin Solution after all (get it? 😉).
Zion was also one of the first small businesses to have an e-commerce website back in 2009 and remains strong and independent today.
Supporting the local community
Bin Solutions is an example of how a hands-on approach, typical of small businesses, through trial and error, delivered a solution to a problem.
Zion is always looking for new ways of marketing his products locally. So, as part of his strategy to diversity the sales channels, he decided to list on an website that follows the same principles as his, giving preference to local businesses and SMBs. You can find his products on Shopbot.ca.