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Sunday, December 4, 2022
Independent Grocers love being part of NOTL community

Rebranding brings renewed focus on freshness and more products

With his grocery store's renovations complete, Tony Hendriks says he is excited to offer an upgraded store for a community he loves being a part of.

“We simply have great, loyal local customers that have supported us for years,” the owner of Hendriks Independent Grocer said in an interview.

“They become part of our daily journey and we become part of their lives.”

Hendriks has been working at the grocery store on Queen Street for 32 years. He started in 1990 as store manager and purchased the Valu-mart franchise with his wife in 1999.

With a rebranding to the Independent and renovations completed, Hendriks is looking forward to offering a revamped store to those customers who have supported him all these years.

He said he's happy to “provide an upgraded warm and inviting local store for our community.”

Hendriks said he has expanded the produce department, the hot food and take-home service, brought in more products with a focus on natural value and organic choices, replaced the floors, the checkout stands, and revamped lighting and signage across the store.

The rebranding comes with a positive impact as the Independent Grocer name is well-recognized across the country.

“On a local level, I’m sure we’ll continue to be called by many names, which is OK so long as people keep coming through the doors,” he said.

Hendriks said the renovations were only difficult because he had to find a balance between operating as an essential business during the pandemic and getting the work done.

“It's been very challenging for all of our staff during these many months, working and running an essential business, trying to keep our shelves stocked and simply showing up day after day to serve our customers and our community as best we can,” he said.

Hendriks celebrated his staff for their dedication to the business and community.

“We are especially proud of our loyal, dedicated staff who come from NOTL and the surrounding towns,” he said.

“As a team they are great to work with side by side. We celebrate each other during the good times and support each other when times get tough. They are truly my work family.”

Over at Phil’s Independent Grocer in Virgil, renovations are still underway. The store is open and owner Phil Leboudec hopes to have everything finished in about seven weeks.

“I don’t want to use the word upscale but it’s going more that way,” Leboudec said in an interview.

The store will have an expanded range of products for customers. “I think at the end of the day there’s going to be more of a focus on fresh,” he said.

“That will show when it’s all said and done.”

“I can’t even describe it as a change, it’s going to be a translation.”

Leboudec said nearly every aspect of the store will be revampd, from the produce fridges to the bakery. Rebranding as the Independent Grocer has big benefits.

“The Independent’s a strong brand. It’s a nationally recognized brand,” he said.

He said he loves being part of the tight-knit community of Virgil.

“I think it’s so much nicer when you’re serving your neighbours,” he said.

“You can hear the chatter, the laughter, you know?”