The sourcing of the products on our shelves usually goes through a varied filtering process. We assess not only the product but our suppliers as well.
Some of the filtering criteria (in no particular order):
- how is it made – is it grown organically, does its production have a negative effect on the planet or the workers
- who makes it – is it fair trade certified, women, a disadvantaged group
- where is it made/produced – is it local, how far does it need to travel, how is it moved/transported
- does the production benefit the producers,
- what are the benefits to the planet and our customers,
- is the supply chain transparent, ethical, and clean, is it certified organic, is it Fair Trade Certified, is it produced by a coop, is it B Corp certified, etc.
- will the use of the product lessen the environmental/societal footprint of customer – LED light bulb, water saving device, organic food, less meat consumption, etc
- who owns the company – several times we dropped products because of the transition of the owners – ie. Tom’s of Maine by Colgate, Garden of Life by Nestles, etc.
- can we get the product in bulk and with minimal or easily recyclable materials
Of course, there are products that are on our shelves that may have less of the boxes ticked off but then we would not have enough variety on our shelves to satisfy our customers.
A few years aog, there was a ‘zero-waste’ store that opened on Salt Spring Island. It closed fairly quickly and from what I have heard from people in that business sector, the owner had such strict criteria that they were not able to offer the variety of products that encouraged people to shop there. If you only have one or two products on your shelf then you need a lot of customers to purchase the product from you. Salt Spring Island was not large enough to sustain that business model.
We are a grocery store. We carry lots of products that the average family will need, but with a twist. The majority of our products are organic. We don’t carry meat – we are a vegetarian store.
The majority of our groceries come from less than 10 suppliers/distributors.
- UNFI – this is a large multinational. It also owns Pro Organics. Located in the lower BC mainland
- Pro Organics – a secondary supplier of fresh produce out of the lower mainland. Owned by UNFI.
- Discovery Organics – our preferred fresh produce supplier. They focus on Fari Trade certified products and their staff are very hip. Located in the lower BC mainland
- Horizon Distributors – our preferred grocery supplier. They started as a coop and the feel of the company is different than others. They still seem to have some of that ethos flowing through the organization. Located in the lower BC mainland
- Purity Life Natural Products – our largest supplier of personal care products
- Left Coast Naturals – bulk grains, legumes, etc. Located in the lower BC mainland
- Jiva Organics – started as an ethnic (East Indian) store in Vancouver and morphed into a production and distribution company. Located in the lower BC mainland
- Pure Source – personal care products.
We have several local suppliers (bread, milk, eggs, etc)
- Breadland Organic Bakery
- Buns and Roses
- Vital Green Dairy Farms
- Purnima Eggs
- Sparrow’s Nest Organics
- Vital Organics
- Reclaim Urban Farm
- Chickadee Farm Herbs
- Alberta Natural Products (soap bars)
We have about 50 other suppliers that might only supply one item or line of products.