Big box stores have invaded Bradford in the last few years, adding more shopping choices ever seen locally. In a very short period of time, stores big and small have started to open their doors to the general public. Our recent splash was the grand opening of grocery store Zehrs. When Zehrs opened on it’s doors for the first time last December, it attracted thousands. The parking lot was full of cars. I even saw my neighbor who of course was as anxious as I was to see what our latest store looked like. As I stepped inside, I felt like I was at a community function. Why? Because the store hired face painters for children, and a band playing in a couple of locations in the store. I thought in my mind I was in retail heaven. And my wallet responded with a very generous gift. I spent over $200 on food and clothing! Zehrs had done what it was suppose to do – make me spend my money there and it succeeded while well. I must admit, Zehrs is a really nice place to shop!
But then I thought about where I usually shop for groceries when not in town. I frequent stores that are ethnically oriented, as well as discount grocery chains. My favorite for Italian goods is Cataldo’s in Toronto and Capri bakery for my bread and Sicilian canoli.
A Sicilian canoli is a ricotta cream pasty inside a hard shell. Just to let you know, I have never had a canoli ever in town.
Why can’t we have ethnic stores here, where we don’t have to leave our community to buy? With that thought, I decided to approach both owners next time I was in Toronto visiting family. When I asked them if they have heard of Bradford, both owners instantly said yes. They both said they had family that moved here to live. Good news, I didn’t have to explain where we were located so that was a plus. But when I asked the owners I received the same answer. I was shocked. The answer was not about the business side of why they would not do business here. It was on the personal side. Both owners said they were too old to open new stores. How on earth could I question their decision when their answer was based on their stage in life. Both owners looked they could have retired years ago. The owners were both hard working immigrants that moved to our county to make Canada a better place to live. If it was not for these hard working men, I would not be able to get my favorite Italian goodies.
Where do you shop for groceries when not in town? If you like ethnic foods, are your needs being satisfied with what is available locally?
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