Archel Imperial and her Foodland team celebrated their first year anniversary on Mon., Jan. 30. Left to right are: Archel Imperial, Helene Visser, Terrilyn Merkley, JoAnn Mendoza, Kathy Patterson, Michelle Dickie, Cindy Stewart, Nancy Disheau, Ron Morrow, Bill Dickie, Terry Tapley, Allan Akins and Joy McCooeye. Morin Photo

IROQUOIS – The Foodland in Iroquois at the Iroquois Plaza celebrated one year of operation on Mon., Jan. 30.

The busy grocery store has been part of the Iroquois and South Dundas community for years.

The first year anniversary would not be complete without mentioning the stores new owner, Archel Imperial.

She has been building her Foodland team for the past year, and the family, friendly atmosphere at the store is the result of the work her team has done.

The grocery store is an older store consequently a complete overhaul was not possible but Imperial changed what parts of it she could.

Floors were scrubbed and shelves have been cleaned, extra shelves were added to the produce section and a greater variety of products was added.

The store became brighter and busier.

“I took over the store on Jan. 30 last year,” said Imperial. The anniversary has a great deal of meaning for her.

“It means so much to me,” she said.

The anniversary featured children’s activities on the weekend before the anniversary date; to Imperial making the grocery store a place families wanted to come to was very important.

Imperial said, “This community is amazing.”

The new Foodland has gained lots of new customers from the areas. Some regular customers had moved on to other grocery stores but now they were returning.

“They are happy with what is going on in the store. Customers are commenting to me about how nice and bright the store is.”

She said she is receiving compliments about the customers shopping experience.

Getting the store up and running was not an easy task.

Imperial, as part of the Foodland culture and family had a great deal of help from fellow storeowners who spent time helping her out.

Dan Pettigrew the Foodland store owner in Winchester, and someone who mentored Imperial when she first came to work in his store in 2012 was there to help her when she took over her own store for the first time.

“The biggest thing for me is to be able to have watched her grow and thrive. She has come a long way in a very short amount of time, from where it was to where it is today,” he said.

“I had a ton of help when I got started too,” said Pettigrew referring to the Foodland culture that encourages storeowners  to lend a hand when help is needed starting up a store.

“When you become a member of the Foodland family it’s incredible.”

He gave an example of how helping out makes a difference.

“The first week after Archel took it over, we did all of this produce section.” He helped install a second set of shelving in the vegetable and produce section enabling the store to showcase more fresh items.

He said once that was done a third level of shelving was added. Iroquois Foodland has become the hub of the Iroquois community.