Karin Kloosterman
Forecasting technologies and design to better the planet

A $5 million organic, online boost for two new Israeli immigrants

A success story for the brave souls who make “aliyah” or who immigrate to Israel, and a success for the world of green as well: two American immigrants to Israel launched an ecological products store, Abe’s Market, in 2009. And only a few years later they have landed financing of $5 million from a number of investors, according to the Israeli business paper Globes.

Abe’s Market is officially based in Chicago, but being a web-based business it takes advantage of the highly-skilled technical and marketing talent based in Jerusalem.

Abe's Market logo

The company collects a myriad of products connected to the ecological products world from food to baby products to home and pet supplies. Some are sourced by Abe’s; others come from third parties. Operating like an eBay sales store, Etsy and big online store rolled into one, the company gives small businesses a chance to sell their products through the site. They also ship from their home base in Chicago.

What sets Abe’s apart from big aggregate sites and online stores is the look and feel, and its marketing approach. The founders Richard Demb and John Polin (who named the company after his grandfather, a pharmacist) aim to give it a mom and pop shop appeal by choosing products they can stand behind and by giving shoppers honest answers about all the products they sell.

With a large part of its business in Israel, the company also sells some Israeli-sourced products like those made from Dead Sea products.

For now, shipping appears to be only in the US, and after a minimum of about $50 products are shipped for free. Last time I spoke with one of the guys from Abe’s (I think it was John) they told me they were working to ship internationally, eventually.

Care about your food miles? So does Abe’s. The company’s search engine allows you to search based on location so that if food transport costs matter to you, as well as supporting local businesses, Abe’s has got your back.

The news comes at a point where those big Internet shops pretty much consume the eyeballs of the Internet. A handful of shops like Amazon and eBay (Etsy for crafts) control the products market, while another handful of sites like Craig’s list (in the US and worldwide), Kajiji (in Canada); and a few used stuff ads companies dominate the market for home entrepreneurs selling wares and secondhand goods to the public (very good for the environment).

I know when I am looking to buy a book online, I go to Amazon. If I am looking for secondhand fashion I go to eBay. Abe’s could be that stop for organic stuff, offering people the experience they expect at a health food store.

Plus, online buying has become boring. I like to see new sites and new competition spring to life.

While so many new immigrants moving to Israel suffer, or at least like to complain about suffering, I am so happy to hear about Abe’s Market and their big investment. Bravo and chapo – as the average Israeli would say when congratulating a peer.

About the Author
Karin Kloosterman was born an activist, focusing that spirit to align human desires with Earth-friendly approaches. She's a published scientist, award-winning journalist and a serial entrepreneur who founded flux to cognify Earth's data. She is the founder of the world-leading Middle East eco news site Green Prophet www.greenprophet.com Reach out via karin@greenprophet.com