CORNWALL, Ontario – A small produce store that started in Cornwall in 1981 has grown into provincially-recognized chain that recently ranked first in a Canadian survey of top grocery operations.
Canada’s favourite grocer, according to survey results, is Farm Boy a 19-store fresh food chain now based in Ottawa that actually got its start on Cumberland Street in the Seaway City.
Farm Boy was the only grocer to receive an A grade in the cross-country survey of consumers, completed by Calgary-based Field Agent Canada.
“We are honoured to receive this recognition from Canadian shoppers and we will continue to work hard to earn their business,” Farm Boy CEO Jeff York said in a statement released to Seaway News.
Farm Boy topped other national chains like Loblaws and Your Independent Grocer.
Farm Boy recently opened three more stores in London, Ont., another in Whitby and has designs on tapping into the Kitchener market as well.
Not bad for a produce store that got its start in December 1981 when Jean-Louis and Colette Bellemare opened the first Farm Boy on Cumberland Street.
At that time, the modest 300 sq. ft. store sold only produce. The second Farm Boy was opened in February 1983 by brother Normand Bellemare in Cornwall. The store continued to grow and eventually expanded its product lines to include deli, bread, and dairy products.
In October 1984, the Bellemare Brothers joined forces to open a Farm Boy at the current Cornwall location on Sydney Street. The new 5,000 sq. ft. area allowed further expansion of the produce line and the addition of dairy, deli, cheese and meat product lines. An in-store bakery and bulk food line were soon added.