Yesterday, while on a work trip to Fredericton, I made a quick stop at an Irving / Circle K store in Welsford, New Brunswick. Pretty straight forward stop. I wanted a drink and a snack and rather than roll on over to the junk food aisles, I decided to step smartly up to the “fresh” produce area and help myself to an apple. It is Fall in New Brunswick, that’s apple season, and I love a good, fresh apple! Imagine my surprise when I started to peel the ubiquitous PLU code sticker and noticed it said “Chile”…
So after an initial angry Tweet and a Facebook status rant, a little birdie sent me some very interesting info (I love social media)… Let’s use it to put the pressure on for “Buy Local”! The items in ( italics ) are my additions!
Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (here’s the Wikipedia link) – Not Irving. (I knew that part, Irving leased their sites to them in the summer of 2008. But Irving has the power to influence them – I hope!)
All purchasing decisions have to be approved by head office – and since local produce isn’t available year-round, they only allow produce contracts with suppliers who can provide year-round availability. (Lazy Jerks…)
It’s EXTREMELY hard to get approval for a purchasing contract through head office. Apparently the big stop in Miramichi sells local, but he is an anomaly because head office doesn’t like it! (Good to see some of them are doing it the right way)
Their website purports to putting 1% of net earnings to the support of youth, health, welfare, and humanitarian causes. That all sounds great, but by buying our apples from Chile and shipping them thousands of miles to Eastern Canada – particularly when there are magnificent local apples hanging on the trees all around New Brunswick – they are destroying the environment, damaging our health with under-nourished imported fruits and vegetables, and negatively impacting the future for these same youth. My “fresh” apple from Irving / Circle K has made a journey of many thousands of miles to get to me…
From their Operations Team page, it appears Michel Bernard is their Eastern Canada Operations VP, so he might be a great one to send your complaints to!
I am sure if Mr. Bernard was truly interested in helping create a sustainable food supply for the people his company says it helps with 1% of net earnings, he could find a very high-quality supply of local apples simply by contacting the following people:
APPLE GROWERS OF NEW BRUNSWICK
168 Cyr Street
Euclide Bourgeois, Chairman
Paul LeBlanc, Secretary-Manager
Tel: (506) 386-8100
Fax: (506) 461-1627
What does this mean??? Well, it looks like it is time to get a grassroots campaign started! I haven’t pissed off a multinational company in weeks…
Here’s some contact information, let’s get started!
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
4204 Industriel Blvd.
Laval, Quebec, Canada
Tel : (450) 662-6632 or (800) 361-2612
Fax : (450) 662-6648