SUNRIPE Sarnia has received a prestigious award from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.
Owner Ingrid Willemsen and daughter Kysa, who serves as Marketing Manager for the business, claimed the 2021 Grocer of the Year Specialty Store Gold Award during a conference and award ceremony in Vancouver late last month.
Kysa Willemsen said the store was judged on numerous things.
"It is a lot of pages, there's things like innovation, how we're treating our customers, your online presence and a whole list of things," she said.
Sunripe has a rich history in the city and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
It was founded in 1982 with $2,000 cash, a $10,000 loan from a friend and a 1978 Ford Econoline van.
"The Sarnia location, being where we began, and having our team there able to celebrate so many things at once is really special," Willemsen said.
It's not the first time the store has been recognized at this level.
"The last time our Sarnia location won this award was in 2012. Our other locations have won, I believe the last time was in 2015. So, it has been a bit of a time coming and we've been working hard to get it back."
The Willemsen family also runs two stores in London, one on Fanshawe Park Road in the Hyde Park area and the other on Adelaide Street at Oxford Street.