In her 1999 book, Leaside, Jane Pitfield writes that the very first store to open in Leaside was Perrem & Knight, a grocery store that also sported the very first telephone in the area.
Some 90 years later, the new owners of that historic space have dialed matters up while staying true to the general store vibe of that first storefront.
Business partners Dariush Felfeli and Roya Izedian opened their natural health store, Red Mulberry, in August 2010 — and they decided on that location precisely because of its history.
“We’re thinking of putting up a plaque,” Felfeli says.
The space, located at 322 Sutherland Dr. at McRae Drive, was the natural choice, he says, as he wants the community to use the new store in the way it was used in the past — as a general store where people go to get all of their goods, in this case healthy ones.
Specializing in mostly Canadian-made all-natural goods, the business sells gluten-free products, household and personal care items, organic and handmade candles, baby and pet supplies, and — coming in the spring — organic produce sourced from local farmers.
“We’re not just a little corner store,” Felfeli says.
They also invested to make the physical space eco-friendly, he says, and promote a healthy environment. The store features radiant heated flooring, eco-friendly paint and refurbished and wooden display fixtures.
Felfeli, who’s owned a health food franchise downtown for nine years, says being an independent operator has its advantages.
When you own a franchise, he says, you can’t put restrictions on what you carry, but independent operators can.
Business partner Roya Izedian has lived in Leaside for over a decade, he says, and the three nutritionists they employ also live locally. There is also a homeopath on site during certain times in the week.
Red Mulberry is expanding its nutritional and homeopathic services in the next month to offer consultations in private offices.
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