Legacy Greens brings fresh produce to downtown Kitchener

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Photo by Madeline McInnis

Legacy Greens in downtown Kitchener is the popular grocery store known for its fresh, local produce and high-quality food products. It has recently moved from its temporary King Street location to a permanent location on Ontario street. 

The popularity of Legacy Greens has grown since it began in 2014 and its owner, Jordan Dolson, has been thrilled with its success. What began as a part-time business grew into a pop-up shop in the DTK area in 2015.

It quickly became a recognized spot for locally sourced produce, with a distinct flair for customer service and savvy relations to local businesses.

Dolson originally worked in municipal government, which gave her the time to try things she was interested in.

Her passion for vegetables grew out of an opportunity to experiment growing different kinds, including kale, chard and a mixture of other greens and herbs.

“I sold at the Stratford farmers market, then I sold to The Prune restaurant in Stratford and then Cowan’s fresh market in Listowel and that went well — I had fun, things grew, it was tons of work but I was learning.”

Her success led her to try opening up a more capital-intensive, customer focused operation. This became a newfound realization for Dolson — that she enjoyed her connection with the people as much as the produce.

“I still wanted to grow, but I really wanted to do the retail component. [It] interested me because I like the interaction with customers, I like the merchandising [and] sourcing things from different places,” Dolson said.

It’s refreshing to see such a quirky, colourful little store with so much personality gain such a dedicated following.

Part of her success has blossomed from how she has managed to adapt her business model to suit being a small-scale store. It’s a system that has clearly been working well.

“The whole concept of having a successful green grocer is to make sure that you don’t have any waste, so we do that by making soups and salads. We try to turn any [extras] that maybe aren’t as aesthetically beautiful for the shelf into higher-value product, so that we’re not throwing stuff in the garbage,” Dolson said.

“[It’s] a real creative component of Legacy Greens and we really love the prepared food options that we’re able to bring to our customers.”

Dolson keeps her methods of operation efficient, turning over products quickly, having strategic merchandising and shelving, stocking high-quality products, collaborating with well-known suppliers, and working with local businesses.

For the size of her store, it’s sustained a level of square-footage sales that has been able to compete with major supermarket chains.

But being a small business owner comes with its own share of downsides and challenges. Dolson recognizes where her strengths lie, and has diligently been working on the difficulties of managing her own business.

“The cash flow management part of a grocery business is extremely challenging. I don’t have a business degree, I’ve had no practice on some of the finance stuff, I’m learning as I go,” Dolson said.

Despite any challenges, it’s clear that Dolson has managed to overcome them with the amount of daily attention her business gets.

“I think people get excited naturally about purchasing something from somebody they know. When you buy local produce, the quality is always better than buying something from far away,” Dolson said.

Having a business like Legacy Greens situated in the heart of DTK is something that adds to the personality of the city and provides people with a place where they can shop for what they need and be given great customer service in the process.

It’s refreshing to see such a quirky, colourful little store with so much personality gain such a dedicated following.

I never thought I’d be the kind of guy who cares about where his spinach comes from or gets excited when a photo is posted of a new strawberry supply on Instagram, but Legacy Greens has managed to turn me into a dedicated supporter of local grocers.

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