Heard on the Street Nov Dec 2020 – Little Foot Foods
Little Foot Foods, a small Windsor company, established in September 2013, is taking on the giants by having their gourmet pierogis sold at Sobeys grocery stores in Lakeshore, Amherstburg, London and Chatham. While acknowledging that it’s hard to find shelf space in large national chain stores, Rob Myers, who co-owns Little Foot Foods with his wife Rachael (2019 Biz X Award winner for “Marvelous Millennial Manager”), says it was largely good fortune that gave them this new opportunity. “A customer who is friends with the grocery manager at Sobeys in London, convinced him to try our products,” explains Rob. “After a few test runs, we were in and it’s been a great experience to deal with large chain stores as well as our regular roster of local businesses.” The Myers launched the business out of a small commercial kitchen in the Riverside Baseball Centre, and once they realized business was going to continue to grow, in 2017 they moved to their current location at 1404 Tecumseh Road East. They bought a pierogi machine, which folds and pinches the product prior to boiling and packaging, from a church that no longer needed it. “It saves a lot of time, but everything else is still done the old-fashioned way with largely locally sourced products,” Myers points out. Little Foot Foods brings in ingredients from The Cheese Bar, The Magical Mushroom Hub and Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Co., among other producers. In addition to 35 varieties of pierogis, Little Foot sells cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, jalapeno poppers, cheddar and chive biscuits, soup, meatloaf, meatballs and chocolate chip cookies. Their items are sold in about 25 different locations, including DeMarco’s Fine Foods, 1349 Grand Marais Road West.
In the midst of a health crisis and pandemic, which sadly has seen businesses close across the region, downtown Windsor appears to be holding its own and bouncing back. At least a dozen new businesses have opened or are in the process of opening. Debi Croucher, Executive Director of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, says “It’s exciting in challenging times to see so many people seizing on opportunities to open new businesses in our city core.” According to Croucher, Ray Chu and his wife Kim are re-opening Ray & Kim’s Super Convenience at 352 Ouellette Avenue, which has been closed since June 2017 because of a fire that damaged two adjoining properties. Elsewhere, the Cookie Bar, a gourmet cookie store, has opened at 471 Pelissier Street close to Syd’s Subs on Pelissier. The Chatham Street Diner has opened in the former Snackbar-B-Q space at 39 Chatham Street East and Dhesi Swaad, an Indian restaurant, has opened at 21 Chatham Street East. Elsewhere, Roti Bowl and Soul is open at 359 Ouellette Avenue and World Space, a business incubator, has opened in the former World Cottage store at 553 Ouellette Avenue. It also houses a law office for Nadia Bhatti, daughter of World Cottage’s former owner, on the second floor. There’s also a late-night sandwich shop slated to open in the former Weeks Jewellers store at 41 Park Street West. And there are also two cannabis shops — J. Supply Co. at 545 Ouellette Avenue and Green Town at 24 Chatham Street West. Other businesses, which have opened in recent weeks, include Green Bus Café, 1057 Ouellette Avenue and Turbo Espresso Bar, 285 Ouellette Avenue.Two years after opening a storefront café at 1284 Ottawa Street, The Windsor Tea Emporium is expanding again and opening a bakery next to its current café, just across the street. Now located at 1295 Ottawa Street with its new bakery next door at 1281, the local business is brewing up even more success. “We’ll be providing a full range of baked goods including pies, wedding cakes, birthday cakes and cupcakes,” indicates owner Mary Christine Smith. The new bakery name — The Windsor Cake Emporium — totally complements the current tea and café business. Smith says she simply ran out of room in her original space and jumped at the chance to move across the street in July of this year. When an adjacent storefront recently became available, she decided to take that one on as well. The store needs some infrastructure upgrades and Smith expects the bakery to be open in November. Starting out as a small at-home business, but as clientele grew, so did the need for a brick-and-mortar location. “It’s a great neighbourhood with a lot of walk-up traffic and we have really grown since opening,” adds Smith. Windsor Tea Emporium is the 2019 Biz X Award winner for “Everyone’s Cup Of Tea”.
A little more than three years after resurrecting the Hi Ho Diner restaurant business, owner Peter Dedvukaj is opening a third restaurant at 2240 Huron Church Road in Windsor. Dedvukaj opened the first two at 2885 Howard Avenue, adjacent to the Ivy Rose Motel, which he also owns, and at 3691 Walker Road, which previously was home to Champions Roadhouse. The Hi Ho restaurants were launched in 1937 by the Fortin family, and after going dormant for a few years, they were re-opened in June 2017.