The Red Express provides local community with fresh grocery options year-round
Lori Oleksandriw has a passion for food. She had been in the restaurant industry for a long time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and she realized her community needed support. With only two convenience stores in Clifford and their only grocery store having closed long ago, Lori took the opportunity to create The Red Express. It saddened her to see residents having to drive to bigger towns and line up for groceries, so Lori made it her goal to bring healthy choices to their community by creating a local grocery store. While her main customers in the summer were the people who travelled through Clifford to get to their cottages, she would love to build strong relationships with residents, and to have The Red Express be a place that they feel at home.
Although Lori currently considers The Red Express to be a specialty grocery store, she intends for it to become a full-fledged grocery store soon. With the support of the Seeding Our Food Future program, Lori is expanding the product lines in the store to make it easier for people to shop, and even has plans to develop a home delivery service for the community. In the summer she sourced her produce from farmers within a 50km radius but given that fresh produce is harder to come by in the winter months, she has since been working with a Sobeys wholesaler. This will allow The Red Express to provide Clifford with access to nutritious food and fresh vegetables all year-round.
The Red Express aspires to build a circular community where residents can drive shorter distances to get their groceries and are able to access fresh food daily instead of having to stock up weekly. Lori wants to find out what the people in town need and then provide them with it — which would also help to minimize waste. She works with many local businesses as she aims to build trust with residents and businesses alike. Through Lori’s plans to employ residents of Clifford, create local partnerships, and provide a grocery delivery program, The Red Express is making great headway in building a stronger, circular community while supporting the Our Food Future goals.