This New Tool Will Help You Shop Local Online — and Allows Small Businesses to Compete with Amazon

Sook is a browser extension that allows online shoppers to view local products that are available in their community

Sook company image
Sook. Photo: Sook

Meet Sook: an online shopping assistant tool helping small businesses and bringing communities closer.

The browser extension — compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge — is designed to let online shoppers browse and buy from small businesses in their community, according to their website.

Shoppers can search for items directly on Sook, or browse on larger retailers' sites and receive a Sook alert when similar products to the ones they're viewing are available in their communities, per their overview on the Chrome web store.

For small business owners, like Seattle resident Jeff Gardner, the extension has helped his business stay afloat amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Running an online site is like running a whole other store," Gardner, who owns Seattle-based shop Standard Goods, told ABC affiliate KGTV. "It's expensive, it's hard, you have to hire other people to do it, shipping's expensive."

According to Jonathan Sandals, who is the founder of Sook (which means "market" in Arabic), the extension was designed after he got inspired by local businesses in Seattle.

"I realized that they're competing for the same consumers in the same way as massive corporations like Amazon [and] Walmart," Sandals told KGTV. "They embody independent spirit, independent creations and best of all community."

"These aren't just distant, faceless corporations with mass-produced products. These are unique creations created by your neighbor," he added.

Sook. courtsy sook

Currently, any retailer who is interested in appearing on Sook's database just has to enter an address and website, KGTV reported.

The extension is completely free to download and also free for businesses to advertise on thanks to paid advertising spotlights, according to its website.

"What's an easy, quick, one-click way for people to buy a better product that's five miles from their house from their neighbor than it is to buy something that's 5,000 miles away in a warehouse," Sandals told KGTV.

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For Garner, having a completely free way to manage his business online sounded too good to be true at first — but now, it has changed the future of Standard Goods.

"I sort of didn't believe it at first because everybody's trying to make money," Gardner told KGTV. "Everybody wants to build the next Uber and make a gazillion dollars, but he's been true to his word."

According to their Chrome web store overview, Sook is expanding to new towns every day and is currently available in over 125 cities in the U.S. and every providence in Canada.

The extension is also available to any shoppers who are within 100 miles of those areas, per KGTV.

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