Friday, February 4, 2011

LOCAL BIZ SPOTLIGHT: Something Cool Frozen Foods

When I started this blog, I had intended to spotlight some folks in my community that operated small businesses.  Specifically, I wanted to talk to others in the neighbourhood who valued the environment as well as eating healthy.  So, for my first installment on local businesses...I proudly present Beth Freeland, owner/operator of Something Cool Frozen Foods.

You may be asking, what???  I thought this was a gardening blog?!   And you would be right!  But another aspect of this blog is the discussion about what we eat, why and how.  If you extend that discussion, you also talk about where your foods come from...if you can't or aren't gardening. 

Something Cool Frozen Foods and Beth Freeland
So on with the interview!

What does Something Cool do/offer?

Beth:  Freezing foods was the original method for food storage.  There are no preservatives and its environmentally friendly, with little to no packaging.  The food is frozen fresh, which preserves the nutritional value.  We offer our customers year-round access to fruits and vegetables, natural and organic foods, prepared meals, fish and seafood, as well as ready to bake items.

How does Something Cool contribute to less packaging?

We buy in bulk and repackage in plastic bags.  Our products are sold and bagged in paper bags or boxes, all of which are recyclable!  Even our store itself only produces a small kitchen garbage bag each week!

What local suppliers does Something Cool use?

Rita's Natural and Organic (Picton), Ledbetters Meat Products (Orillia), Salmon River Smokehouse (Tamworth), Margo's Pies (Elgin), Paulina's Curry Mix (Kingston), Sue's Gluten Free (Kingston), Guthries Farms (Harrowsmith), and coming soon Ella's Exclusives (Harrowsmith). 

Are there any qualifications you would like your suppliers to have to be stocked in your store?

Yes!  I try to carry high-end products where possible.  If I stock chicken fingers, I chose the brand that is actually all white meat with the least amount of breading.  Also, oven cooking rather than deep frying.  I have my customer's health in mind when I chose these items.  We also cater to those customers with special dietary considerations such as gluten sensitivities, diabetes and vegetarians. 

How do you help contribute to your customer's overall health?

I like to talk with my customers, and find out what their dietary needs are.  When you get to know your customers, you can easily make suggestions that suit their needs. 

What is it like to operate a food store in a rural area?

My grandfather operated a general store in Bellrock, and some of my earliest (and happiest) memories are from being in and around that store.  I love the social aspect of running a store and knowing your customers.  I love making suggestions for meal parings. 

What so you feel you offer your customers that beats the competition?

Personal service!  We really do have great customer service here.  We offer such convenience, as you can phone or email your orders in and they'll be ready for pick up!

What are your thoughts on the 100 miles challenge?

I meet that with the majority of my suppliers.  I do deal with Sysco for some items and you can't always control where Sysco buys its products.

What is the best value item in your store and why?

Its got to be the 4k case of boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  Its a very lean protien and can be prepared in a variety of different ways.  Also, our natural, often gluten free and organic soups!  $5.99 for a litre!!!

Visit Beth's store in Sydenham (until Feb 16th then relocating to Harrowsmith on Feb 19th) or online at the following link:

I'm grateful that Beth Freeland took the time to talk with me about her business.  She's a brand new grandmother and also moving her store in the next two weeks to Harrowsmith!  Busy gal!!!  Thanks again Beth and good luck in the new location!  

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