The statement is right there on the Sunripe website: “To delight and enrich our customers with fresh and unique signature products in a warm, welcoming, and clean marketplace by an impassioned team.” Not an uncommon set of goals to find in the modern retail landscape; however, unlike many other retailers, Sunripe strives to make it more than just a mission statement—making its stores unlike any other retail location in Ontario.
Established 35 years ago by Will Willemesen, the store began as a 1,000-square-foot fruit and vegetable market that featured fresh and local products to the Sarnia area. Still owned and operated by Will Willemsen and his wife Ingrid, along with their three children, Kysa, Ryall and Mia, Sunripe has grown to three stores in two different cities. One in Sarnia, moved from the original location to its current location on Lakeshore Road, and two in London—Sunripe Adelaide and Sunripe Hyde Park, recently opened in March 2016. The Sunripe family has grown now to have 200 full-time employees across those three stores.
Besides its focus and pride at being a family-owned establishment, Sunripe knows that its customers look first and foremost for fresh, healthy, and local products that can trust and enjoy with their families. Recognizing this, Sunripe takes pride in sourcing many of its local products and by travelling to the Toronto Food Terminal to hand-select the produce for its stores so they can ensure that customers get the best products that Sunripe can find.
“We source select Ontario pork from a reliable, consistent vendor,” says owner Will Willemesen. The store has chosen to remain loyal to one supplier, and have developed a great relationship with the store’s pork supplier. This ongoing relationship, Sunripe says, allows for consistency in its pork products and guarantees the quality and freshness that Sunripe prides itself on offering its customers. This approach has built the business stronger as customers can rely on them to have the best products available day in and day out.
“We also buy value-added pork products that we have tested and feel confident the quality is up to our standards,” says Willemesen. As well, Sunripe prides itself on cutting its pork at a store level and employs knowledgeable butchers to give customers a level of service above the store’s competitors. A Sunripe customer can be certain they will be getting a product that meets extremely high quality standards.
This approach has surely paid off for Sunripe, as they have won numerous awards, including multiple golds in the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocer of the Year Awards, a Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce Outstand Business Achievements Award and has been inducted into the Canadian Grocer Hall of Fame.
Not a bad resume, and one that represents years of hard work from a family who has dedicated themselves to ensuring that their customers throughout Sarnia and London can rely on Sunripe Markets to give them the very best.
If you want to learn more about Sunripe, visit their website at: https://www.sunripe.ca