Okanagan Falls is getting a grocery, more than a year after their last one closed down.
It won’t be quite like the old IGA that closed down though, instead, Little Falls Foods owners Dahlia and Derek Millington are planning to open up in early May with plenty of local produce delivered in a new way.
“You can get fresh, local produce, or Kraft Dinner, or imported organic cheese,” said Dahlia. “It will be the whole range.”
The new store will be run out of the old Post Office Building at 5129 Tenth Street, and will function as more of a warehouse-styled store, instead of a classic supermarket grocery like IGA. The couple took possession of the building just on March 1.
Customers will be able to order online or over the phone, or come in and use a tablet at the reception, and then their orders will be packed and either delivered to their doorstep or set aside for pick up.
“It’s less like Costco, and a little more like Amazon,” said Millington. “Customers won’t be walking the aisles. COVID friendly and a little more like the old mercantile stores, where people would walk in and get served by the clerks.”
The new model was one of the couple’s first ideas for filling the need of a grocery store in the community, and finding a way to do it effectively and efficiently.
The store will offer just about everything that could be found in a grocery store, except for meat, which requires additional delivery and storage requirements.
Local produce will be a star at the store when it opens in early May, assuming all of the remaining permitting and renovations are completed on schedule.
“We’ve already got a number of local farms on board as suppliers, local food manufacturers too,” said Millington. “Valoroso Foods in Kelowna is a supplier for Italian foods that we’re working with, on top of our smaller, local distributors.”
The plan for the store takes advantage of the shipping and logistics that e-commerce companies have worked to develop, and pairs it with supporting a local, small business instead of a large corporation.
In addition to the indoor area, the couple plans to have three 20-foot containers set up in the yard outside, one a cooled unit, one a freezer and the last for household equipment supplies.
The Millingtons settled on the idea of launching the grocery when they arrived in the community and decided that was where they wanted to move to from Edmonton, asking around for what was missing when it came to businesses.
Dahlia’s background is in education and grocery retail, so they aren’t coming into the business fully unprepared.
“We both do have some background, and we really care about food,” said Dahlia. “We want to support the community, and this is a big need the community has.”
Their son will also be joining them from Montreal, where he has been working as a software engineer with a focus on warehouses and logistics.
The community of Okanagan Falls has been a great support for the Millington’s efforts, with people stopping by often to chat with them, eager to have their own grocery store once more.
The Little Falls Foods website, where orders will be placed once the store is opened, can be found at littlefallsfoods.ca.
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