Bob Hedley had been waiting for the right time to move his store. Who knew the right time would take 31 years to arrive?
However, it is everything Erin is doing "outside of the box" – her store – that is getting the attention of the locals.
Two Farm Kids Natural Foods in Brandon, Manitoba is owned and operated by....well, two farm kids. Sylvia and Greg Ubell both grew up on farms, so it was really a no-brainer that in 1988 when they opened their own independent natural food store that the “two farm kids” name would stick.
Starting as a small mail order company in 1936, and growing to a full fledged retail business with six thriving and successful health food stores in 2011, Vita Health has definitely come a long way in it’s 75 years.
“Over the 20 years I’ve owned my business, I’ve had a lot of teams and a lot of great people work for me and not to take anything away from any of them, but what we have right now is really something amazing,” says John. “They are self-motivated, they do their best and they treat the store as if it was their own.”
Congratulations to Pierre Menard, Real Deslauriers and their team at La Boite à Grains in Gatineau, QC on reaching the 30-year milestone. Pierre was one of the original partners when the doors opened in early march 1980. Industry friends, family and customers joined Pierre and his team on November 30 to mark the anniversary.
One of the major reasons La Boite à Grains has continued to grow over the three decades has been Pierre's willingness to change when needed, and grow when the opportunity presents itself. For example, the original store in the Hull area of Gatineau has had some physical changes over the years, including a major overhaul recently. Even the second La Boite à Grains store, which opened in 2005, didn't escape Pierre's scrutinizing. It recently underwent a little re-vamp to improve the customer flow within the store.
Pierre is encouraged with the way the natural health industry in Quebec has changed over the years, and how things are developing for the future. "The major change I see in recent times is the younger crowd (ages 20 to 35) coming into the store. There has been a mini-baby boom in Quebec the past seven or eight years, so we're getting lots of young families. But we're also getting many single people. Ten years ago, this segment represented about 10 per cent of our business. Today, this age group makes up about 22 per cent of our customer base."
Pierre is confident the hard work of himself and other long-time industry people has contributed greatly to the current growth and interest in the natural health sector. "The words we know and promote – organic, fair trade, buying local, ecological, biodegradable, low foot print on the environment – these are more than words to this group of young people. They don't just know them... they live them. It has become a part of their value system. They really get it and believe in it like we first did 30 years ago ...and this is great news for our planet and our business." •
La Boite à Grains is just one of the many health foods stores in the Ottawa region which is creating news. In the March-April issue of CNHR, we'll be reporting on the changes, expansions and innovations of retailers on both sides of the Ottawa River, including an expanded feature on La Boite à Grains. •
In times of change, life can be both challenging and rewarding. And no one can attest to this more than the customers, staff and new owners of Le Panier Vert in Chateauguay, QC.
After store owner Leo Bik sadly passed away in April of 2008, Larry Ridge – who was a long-serving employee – stepped in to take ownership of Le Panier Vert.
As a youngster, Doug Fleck recalls making the journey into Swift Current, Saskatchewan with his family and shopping for clothes in the Stedman's Department store. These days, Doug is spending a lot more time in the old Stedman's location. However, it is now a Nutter's Bulk and Natural Foods, and Doug is the store manager.
All good things are happening at Goodness Me's flagship store in Hamilton.
"Two things we are working on simultaneously: refreshing our brand to impact all three of our stores and expanding our largest store from approximately 17,000 to 19,000 square feet," says general manager Michael Jacks. ...
There are not many people who can boast about being an integral part of a successful retail business for 40 years. However, Bill Gall – owner of Burlington Health Foods – has more than earned those bragging rights. This year, Burlington Health Food celebrates its 40th year anniversary. The store recently marked this monumental milestone with 40 free gifts to the first 40 customers, 40 per cent off selected products and cake and refreshments for everyone....
Julie Beaver, the store manager of Health Wise in Welland, ON, has a funny story she likes to tell. “I remember an elderly man walking by and poking his head in our store and saying, ‘Why would anyone ever need a store this big that sells hippie food?’ His prediction was that we would be out of business in two months.”...
Lucy Miller's career as the owner of the Healthy Hut health food store almost ended before it ever really got going. All is well now, but it wasn't without the type of challenges that make some people throw their hands up in frustration and walk away.
Within the first year of buying an underperforming health food store in Cochrane, Alberta in 2003, Lucy had some serious obstacles tossed into her path. For example, after only a year into the venture, she was told she'd have to move (in the middle of winter), as her lease wasn't being renewed."..." Read More
It was the spring of 2006 when Dennis Schroeder and his daughter Leane Harasymchuk engineered a major move, taking their store Good ‘n’ Natural from a 1,000 sq. ft. downtown strip mall location in Steinbach MB to a new, larger 2,700 sq. ft. space on a high traffic corner across town. (CNHR Sept-Oct 2006)
Operating in a general trading area of roughly 30,000, which includes towns surrounding Steinbach, Good ‘n’ Natural was also to some degree competing against natural stores in Winnipeg, just a 40 minute drive to the north and west. Prior to the move, many steps were taken by Leane and Dennis to visit other natural stores across the country and to also get the pulse of their customers, asking what they’d like to see in the soon-to-be created location.
News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.
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