'What he's doing is awesome': Independent Calgary grocery store paying it forward
CALGARY -- 'Local helping local’ is more than just a slogan for European Deli and Produce Market owner Darren Hollman this week
Hollman is dedicating three days — Friday, Saturday and again on Sunday — to selling ambrosia apples, long English cucumbers, potatoes and carrots, but with a twist.
The items don’t have a price associated to them. Instead, Hollman is asking customers to pay what they can for the locally grown produce.
"One hundred per cent from the proceeds we make from that product is going directly to help three businesses,” said Hollman.
“It will be split evenly between the three and we just hope the people or the public will get behind it and support this worthy cause.”
Greg Hollman came up with the idea after hearing about struggles from the owner of the gym he’s a member of. Platoon Fitness has been closed since Dec. 13, 2020 because of provincial pandemic restrictions.
“They haven’t been getting much help from the government,” said Greg. “Applying for grants, not getting any money and still being expected to stay closed, it’s been tough.”
The family-run grocery store hopes to raise $5,000 in the three-day blitz. The other two businesses they’ve chosen to help are a northeast tailor, Crolux Tailoring, and Marco’s Kitchen in the southeast.
Zika Pavlovic opened the Marco's Kitchen almost two years ago and named it after his son. He’s invested nearly $300,000 in the business and has watched his bottom line shrink since March of last year.
“We used to have seven employees, now we have only two,” said Pavlovic. “Revenue cut about 80 per cent, we have some help with the government otherwise I don’t know how it’s going to be.”
Pavlovic met the Hollmans a few days ago and is impressed with what they’re doing to help.
“And what he’s doing is awesome you know,” said Pavlovic. “To help help community and give something back, people respect that and I’m very honoured to meet him.”
So far, Calgarians have gotten on board with the idea of local helping local.
Friday was the first time Nadim Abboud and his wife visited the store. They loaded up on carrots and cucumbers to make a donation.
“That’s good for them to do that to help somebody else especially local,” said Abboud. “People I know got hurt this year but I hope they do (this kind of fundraiser) all the time so then I do what I can.”
“It’s a tough time for everybody,” said Hollman. “Some companies are doing very well so we’re just doing our part, we don’t expect anyone else to follow suit but maybe it will inspire people to do that.”
Learn more about the European Deli and Produce Market online