What began as a sort of selfish idea has ended up being an integral part of the Cumberland community.
“We were frustrated that we couldn’t buy a full range of groceries in our own town,” says Tina Willard-Stepan, owner of Seeds Food Market. “We felt it was important for Cumberland to have access to services in their own community.”
In March of 2008, the store opened its doors with many empty shelves, each with a sign that read This is your shelf – tell us what you want. Tina and husband Jim have spent the past six years doing just that: bringing in what customers want.
Celebrating the store’s sixth anniversary this month is a testament to how much stuff Cumberland wanted. “We love playing this role in our community – they have shown such fantastic support,” says Jim. “And now we can buy wholesome food right down the street.”
The couple has earned several awards and nominations. The first was a Chamber of Commerce Customer Service Award in 2009. They have also been a finalist for several Island and province-wide awards, including BC Small Business Best Employer for 2010 and Community Impact for 2011 and 2012. In 2013 they were a finalist for Vancouver Island Business Excellence Community Impact and Green Business Awards.
“These awards are really cool. We see them as acknowledgement that we are doing something right,” says Willard-Stepan. “But at the end of the day we are really just very happy to be doing what we are and grateful to the community for supporting it.”
— Seeds Food Market