‘Independence Day’ for Sobeys Franchisees

July 14, 2009

I just caught a very interesting (and inspiring) article on the CBC.ca website relating to the ‘buy local’ craze that seems to be sweeping the nation these days.

Apparently, nine Sobey’s store owners recently decided to (partially) cut their ties with the franchise so that they’d be able to start offering a lot more local products – a practice that was previously a major challenge due to Sobey’s corporate policies. The nine stores joined forces, becoming what is known as the Hometown Grocers Co-Op.

Here are a couple of blurbs from the article:

“We feel that local food, local presence is huge in our market and we wanted to take advantage of that,” [Dale Kropf – owner of four of the nine stores in the co-op] says.

Canadians are increasingly subscribing to the “buy local” and “100 mile diet” philosophies due to concerns over imported food, Kropf adds. “The pressure was always mounting — the more recalls, the more bad press from China or wherever the product was coming from. I know that in our case, our private label pickles are made in Indonesia. I couldn’t believe that.”

As a franchisee for a large grocery chain, Kropf says, corporate policies stipulating that he only buy federally inspected meat prevented him from stocking local products. Most federally inspected meat in Canada comes from large corporations such as Maple Leaf, Cargill and Tyson.

The nine stores have retained their wholesale relationship with Sobeys for items such as dog food, spices and breakfast cereals, but the chilled meat section of Kropf’s store in Elora, Ont., is now stacked high with fresh pork, chicken and beef that comes from no farther than 60 kilometres away.

The stores are located in southern Ontario communities such as Arthur, Durham, Lucknow and Palmerston.

Be sure to check out the full article here >> Buy-local push prompts Ontario grocers to go independent<<

I think it is fantastic that these store owners are taking such a major (undoubtedly scary) step in an effort to support local producers, and of course provide customers with more local produce options.

I’ve definitely been disappointed with the lack of truly local goods in big grocery stores in Waterloo region myself, and certainly hope that this is just the beginning of a new trend!

Anyway – just wanted to share that!

[tags]buy local, sobeys, factory farms, 100 mile diet, local produce, maple leaf, tyson, cargill, pork, beef, poultry[/tags]


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