We were approached in November 2016 and told that Stewart's Country Market owners were really wanting to sell their business. They liked the store we had created in Paisley and really wanted us to consider purchasing this store to ensure a grocery store remained in Mildmay.
Rob and I were raised on farms, Rob raised just north of Paisley and I just north of Burgoyne. We went to high school together and met through Junior Farmers, going to dances and curling bonspiels. I attended Centralia College for Food Service Management and worked in institutional food services for several years while Rob began a career at Bruce Power.
We've experienced a lot of different things since our 1991 marriage including raising two daughters, Laura and Faith. But our monumental leap of faith happened in 2013 when Paisley experience the loss of their grocery store. In June 2013 the manager locked the door and walked away and that was the end. Rob and I felt a strong desire to get it open again and after months of research we purchased the building, did a wall-to-wall renovation for energy efficiency and re-opened the store in June 2014. The community was truly grateful and our customers appreciative of our efforts, although for us its 100% dedication, long hours and unbelievable stress the first couple years. As we near our fourth year in business, we are getting it figured it out. However then another venture came along to our door.
There have been too many communities lose their grocery stores recently. Grocery stores are not only the place for food, a necessity of life, but also a community social gathering place. The grocery store supports local events by providing food and, having a grocery store means you will attract and keep residents in your community. Its a basic service and especially needed in harsh Bruce County winters when getting out of town is sometimes impossible. Our empathy got the better of us.
We have learned a lot and felt that perhaps we could ensure Mildmay kept its store and create a new community store that everyone could be proud of. We purchased the building and land June 2, 2017, closed the store for three weeks for an extensive renovation and opened a new store on June 23rd called Mildmay Freshmart.
We have met many wonderful people and hope to entice more to the store. Rob and I along with our amazing staffing team strive every single day to be the best grocery store we can be for this community. We continue to introduce new products and services to satisfy the needs of our community.
Proudly Independantly Owned & Operated
In 2013 we did extensive research into the grocery industry in advance of starting Paisley freshmart. Where does a grocery store purchase groceries, in order to turn around and sell them to the public? We discovered that there are limited purchasing options available in Ontario for grocery stores. Every store needs to belong to a purchasing group or affiliated with one of the two major grocery warehouse suppliers in the province (Loblaw or Sobeys). We have always preferred the President's Choice and No Name brand of products that belong to Loblaw Companies, so we researched options available. Their stores are set up as one of three: corporate stores (Superstore or Zehrs) owned and operated by the company itself; franchise stores (ValuMart, No Frills, Your Independent Grocer); or an affiliated independent store. The affiliated independent stores are owned and operated by the owners but have a buying/purchasing contract with Loblaw Companies Limited to purchase groceries and their private label products of President's Choice and No Name. Sobey stores include Foodland, Food Town, Sobey's, IGA, FreshCo. and their private label products are called Our Compliments.
With continued research, we determined that we would prefer to own our own building and own the business ourselves, with a contract to purchase groceries from Loblaw Companies Ltd, rather than become a franchise store. We have learned a lot about owning our own business over the past four years but are thrilled to be able to make our own decisions and create grocery stores to suit the communities of Paisley and Mildmay.
We hope this helps to clarify and understand how our business is set up. Since we are independently owned and operated, we do not get all the perks and programs of a Loblaw franchise or corporate store. We have a purchasing contract only, and follow a weekly flyer. We determine our own marketing plans, in-store features, hours of operation, staffing levels, services to offer within the community, and we set our own prices. We have very limited store support from anyone and function as a true small business.
Our team at Mildmay Freshmart strives everyday to meet all your grocery shopping needs with fresh local produce and meat, meals-to-go, delicious in-store bakery and everyday groceries.
We strive to make shopping simple and if we don't have what you need, we are happy to try to get it for you.
Love where you Live...... Shop Local !!