Tag Archives: buy local

Red Whale Coffee lockout shows poor business ethics

Posted on December 11, 2010 by

I am writing you to express my concern and anger over Phil Brodersen’s decision to close the doors to Red Whale Coffee in Rothesay, NB. My understanding is that Red Whale Coffee was not behind on their lease payments, so I cannot begin to understand what would make Phil Brodersen want to lock their doors, simply because he wanted to place a different tenant in the location?

Red Whale Coffee is a great example of the type of business the KV should be looking to create and attract. Red Whale Coffee is a KV-based small business that offers the highest quality coffee in Southern New Brunswick, as well as a great atmosphere to sit back and enjoy the company of friends. They also employed 15 people in the KV area. I have seen and met many of Southern New Brunswick’s business and government leaders enjoying themselves at Red Whale Coffee, so I am sure there are many others who are disappointed with these actions. An online Facebook page created to support Red Whale Coffee attracted over 100 people in a matter of hours, showing that Red Whale Coffee has some very loyal customers.

To explain how important this business is to the KV area, I live in Saint John but travel to Rothesay specifically to go to Red Whale Coffee. While in the KV for my coffee trips, I also do additional shopping and eating at several other KV-specific businesses – Cochrane’s, On the Vine, Thai Hut, Pomodori’s, and various shops on the main strip are some examples. All this additional shopping is done in the KV because I make special trips to visit Red Whale Coffee. Much of this additional shopping will stop if Red Whale Coffee no longer exists.

I cannot think of a better example of the type of business than Red Whale Coffee that the KV Chamber of Commerce should be supporting and promoting in the KV area, a business that is packed with locals and also attracts people from elsewhere. Instead, Phil Brodersen locked the doors and forced 15 KV employees out of work two weeks before the holidays.

When someone holds a position such as President of a Chamber of Commerce, sometimes they have to think about what is good for the area and not just themselves. Phil Brodersen is a representative of the KV Chamber of Commerce and as such, this does not reflect well on that organization’s business practices.

Above letter was sent to the KV Chamber of Commerce and as a Letter to the Editor at the Telegraph Journal


Buy Local? Not at Irving / Circle K Stores! #buylocal

Posted on September 9, 2010 by

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:

168 Cyr Street
Dieppe, NB
E1A 7Z1
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
H7L 0E3
Tel : (450) 662-6632 or (800) 361-2612
Fax : (450) 662-6648



Footnote: Once we are done with Irving / Circle K, we need to start working on Sobeys for the same practices, but that’s a rant for another day!