As a youngster, Nathalie Gélinas began laying the groundwork to someday take over her family health food store, although she didn’t realize it at the time. Working quietly in the back room of Panier Santé in Pointe-du-Lac, Quebec, in the Trois-Rivières area, the 11 year-old Nathalie diligently weighed and carefully packaged bulk food items before taking them to the sales floor and putting them out on display for sale to customers.
Avi Dor and Nicholas Durand of Biodor Produit Naturels, Montreal, toured Peru as the winners of the Ultimate Maca Contest in Peru, with George Hildebrandt and Joanne McDonald (with husband Steve McDonald) of Preferred Nutrition. George of Hilgan Enterprises, a native of Peru, was their tour guide. The current contest for the 2015 Ultimate Maca Peru trip ends in March. Talk to your Preferred Nutrition account manager for details on how to win a trip to Peru with George and Preferred Nutrition.
Kardish Health Food Centre, Ottawa, ON, has been named the Outstanding Business of the Year Award winner as part of The Best Ottawa Business Awards, which was presented Nov. 20.
Brothers Robert and Carey Assaf, the co-owners of Kardish, have been involved with the organization for much of their lives: their father, Michael, was a franchisee who owned and operated Kardish locations between 1984 and 2005. After working with the business in various capacities, the brothers acquired full ownership in 2010.
Recharging, learning and munching should be your top priorities for the annual Guelph Organic Conference & Expo.
“We’ve been selling organics for 21 years and you tend to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of the store,” notes Lynda Phillips, president of Lyn-Dys Health Foods in London, Ontario. “It’s so nice to go to the conference and get re-confirmed about our purpose,” she adds. Some days can be tough in retail, especially those filled with customers who question the products offered. At the conference, “you can socialize with like-minded people, and get that boost to keep going with what you’re doing,” says Lynda.
Conference manager Tomás Nimmo feels that one of the biggest benefits of the conference is the ability to meet with primary suppliers. “This is a great opportunity to meet with agri-producers/manufacturers and their distributors, sample their products, and talk at length with them,” notes Tomas. “This is a no- pressure show,” he adds.
The conference is also a great educational opportunity. “In our store we are often broaching the conversation ‘what is organic,’ and helping people talk to their families about why eating organic is important,” says Lynda. “The technical information is very helpful,” she notes. For example, workshops such as Organic Certification Demystified are designed to assist interested consumers, but also are beneficial for store staff. The conference also draws a diverse gathering of farmers, eco-associations and motivated consumers, making for great networking.
The success of the conference mirrors the continued increase in consumer demand for organics. A 2013 study by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA), found that the value of the Canadian organic food market – at $3 billion per year – had tripled since 2006. It also found that 58 per cent of Canadians reported purchasing some organic products every week, with this rate even higher amongst ethnic Canadians, people living in Canada’s largest cities, households with young families and consumers with university educations.
This year’s conference features close to 160 exhibitors including Pfennings Organic (both the farm distributor and the farm store), Organic Meadow, Ontario Natural Food Co-op, Nature’s Path, Crofters, Organics Live and dozens more. The workshop schedule is jam packed with 42 offerings covering a diverse range of topics including soil fertility, organic crop production, pollination, permaculture, restoration agriculture and many others.
The Guelph Organic Conference takes place January 29 to February 1 2015. Registration, maps and details can be found at www.guelphorganicconf.ca. •
After several years at another downtown Montreal location, CHFA Quebec is returning to the Palais des congrès in 2015.
With approximately 140 exhibiting companies, this will be the largest show that CHFA has held in Montreal. The event, which only takes place every other year, is an excellent opportunity to source new products, meet with manufacturers and suppliers that you might not see otherwise and network with the industry. In addition to the many show specials that exhibitors will have available, you can also take advantage of free education being held right on the show floor. The CHFA is also proud to host the CHFA Industry Achievement Awards & Dinner on February 6 which celebrates excellence in the natural health and organic products industry.
CHFA is organizing the third annual Winter Classic, a hockey game between industry suppliers and retailers on Thursday, February 5 at 2:00 pm at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. We invite everyone to come out to watch the fun and then gather at the sports bar inside the complex for a reception following the game. Shuttle bus service has been arranged to and from the event from the Westin Hotel, located directly across from the Palais des congrès on St. Antoine. Check the CHFA website for complete details on this fun afternoon that marks the opening event for the CHFA Quebec weekend. •
CHFA East in Toronto proved to be a good weekend for Darren Firth (centre) and the entire team at National Nutrition in Orillia, ON.
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