Quality Market Sets out to Serve the North With New Online Grocery Store


Quality MarketTHUNDER BAY – Business Now – It is another sign that the Internet is growing in Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario, and that smart businesses are moving into the marketplace to sell their products. Quality Market is set to announce their new online shopping service. This new online grocery store will officially open next week. This will be Thunder Bay’s first online grocery store. The online store will service not only the City of Thunder Bay but out into the region as well.

It is a move that the family run Thunder Bay company has invested time, energy and pride into creating.

One of the goals of the online store is getting fresh fruit, vegetables, and other groceries into First Nations communities across the north. Quality Market has been chosen to work in conjunction with the Ministry of Aboriginal and Northern Development to be a southern supplier under the Nutrition North Canada Subsidy Program for remote First Nations.

Quality Market has partnered with Nishnawbe-Aski Nation to make this an effective program to the mutual benefit of all parties. David Stezenko from Quality Market shares, “Relationships between NAN and Quality Market began with an invitation to share lunch with Grand Chief Stan Beardy and some of his key staff. Over a bowl of soup, he explained the plight of his people’s diet and asked if we might be interested in being part of the solution to the problem. Through many conversations and planning sessions, we have drawn very close, and a trust has formed”.

“Over a 12 month period, Quality Market built a business within a business, and has been awarded a contract to become one of 33 stores in Canada to be a southern supplier for Nutrition North Canada through the Federal Government. For communities who are eligible, QM will be able to offer a subsidy that will help offset the cost of flying food into these remote destinations. NAN and the Grand Chief were very helpful and worked to help us achieve this status”.

That relationship has boosted the understanding of the new online store too. “While this has been a goal for some time, the plan wasn’t scheduled to roll it out for another year or two,” adds Stezenko. “But when we realized that many of our new customers couldn’t read the catalogue on our web site because it wasn’t in their native language, the only viable option would be an online store that allowed them to look at pictures, ‘click…and add to cart!’ So not only will this benefit our Cree and Oji-Cree speaking customers in the north, it will benefit residents in Thunder Bay as well”.

“Our partnership also grew stronger with the running of a ‘good food box’ program for several NAN communities last summer,” continues Stezenko.

“Six separate shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables filled a plane that was received with gratitude at the other end. The recipient communities included, Fort Severn, Bearskin Lake, Attawapiskat, Muskrat Dam, Peawanuk, and Keshechewan. Working this project also allowed us to build relationship with the True North Community Cooperative. We were able to work with them to fill the orders and meet the needs of the people in the north. They are a group of local farmers who helped us fill the orders”.

Tracie Smith, the Senior Director, Communications & Engagement for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has previewed the site. She comments, “Congratulations Quality Market! Your new on-line shopping site is very effective. It was easy (and quite fun, to be honest) to navigate because the grocery sections make sense. The images are extremely helpful – just a quick glance and I knew I was on the right page and what items were available. The images and range of products make healthy eating options more accessible to more people in our community”.

The new venture gets underway next week with an official launch at Quality Market’s Campus Hill location.

Visit Quality Market online at www.qualitymarket.ca

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