“You can’t run a grocery store if you don’t love food,” says Paula Ceglie. She and her husband, Cos, have been co-owners of the Port Carling Foodland for a year or so. As customer tastes change, she says, “we’ve expanded our cheese selection, added more seafood and grass-fed beef, more vegan and gluten free. And, we bring in more local, organic produce.”
“People are ecstatic when local strawberries come in,” Paula says. “We can tell them exactly what farm they come from.” Along with corn from nearby Midland, local asparagus and cauliflower, farmsourced honeys and maple syrups, one of the most popular local foods is Milford Bay smoked trout. Customers know they can fi nd it at the store, she says. “We have to keep it in stock. All the time.”
“It’s a small-town, customer-service thing,” she says, “when someone asks about a product, we try to get it in to test. I call the customer when it’s here.” Daydream Sparkling Water, a Canadian-made beverage line, was a shopper’s recommendation, and it’s become popular at the store. Local chefs and cottagers have helped expand the spice selection too, says Paula. “A few we’ve added are lime leaves, curry leaves, and a terrific blend based on everything bagels.”
With extensive COVID protocols in place, “We weren’t able to host the events we wanted, but we’ve still made great friendships in the community,” she says, “and we kept our customers and our staff safe. That’s so important to us.”
Stop by Port Carling Foodland for small-town customer-service and big-city flavours—a great start to every cottage weekend.