Farm Boy Celebrates 35 Years in Hometown

January 23, 2017
By Bob Peters

Cornwall, Ontario – Farm Boy has come a long way since Jean-Louis and Colette Bellemare opened the doors to their first Farm Boy store in 1981 – a small 300 square foot fresh produce store on Cumberland Street.

Three years later, Jean-Louis and his brother Normand Bellemare opened a new Farm Boy store at the current Cornwall location on Sydney Street. The larger store allowed for an expanded produce line and the addition of dairy, deli, cheese and meat product lines. An in-store bakery and bulk food line were added later.

The model of this successful Cornwall store would soon be introduced to consumers in Ottawa, who immediately embraced the warm and friendly stores that offered quality fresh produce, meat and bakery with top-shelf customer service. A third Bellemare, Daniel, joined his brothers in running the company.

Today, Farm Boy has grown to 23 stores across Ontario, employing more than 3,000 people. Loyal customers from across the province still love the Farm Boy signature farm-fresh produce, locally sourced foods, popular store brands and now enjoy some of the newer offerings found in store including wholesome fresh prepared meals, made from scratch in the Farm Boy Kitchen.

“Staying true to Farm Boy’s core values of offering quality and tasty fresh foods and friendly customer service has been a winning recipe for 35 years,” said Jeff York,Farm Boy co-CEO. “We are grateful for our loyal customers’ continued support and are dedicated to remaining attentive to their needs and preferences for many more years to come.”

Farm Boy’s commitment to offering local foods has also translated into tremendous success for a number of local, Ontario-based growers and producers like Smyth’s Orchard, Lanthier Bakery, Brandt Meats, St. Albert Cheese and others whose signature products have been mainstay on Farm Boy shelves.

Anniversary Celebration

This Saturday,  Farm Boy will host a 35th anniversary celebration in Cornwall Ontario, where it all began.

“Cornwall is proud to be the birthplace of Farm Boy,” said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy, City of Cornwall. “We are happy to see the company, which has built its reputation on quality and service, continue to have success as it expands to other Ontario communities!

As a thank you for their support for the past 35 years, Cornwall customers are invited to drop in for a celebration that will feature exclusive Cornwall Anniversary specials, tasty samples from local suppliers, face-painting and a chance for children to meet the Farm Boy mascots, Lulu the Cow and Farm Hand.

Customers will also have the opportunity to enter into a draw to win a $100 Farm Boy gift card.

Quick Facts

  • First Farm Boy opened on December 2nd, 1981 – small 300 square foot produce store on Cumberland Street in Cornwall
  • Moved to the present Cornwall location at 814 Sydney in 1984
  • First Farm Boy store in Ottawa opened in Orleans in 1992
  • Expansion in Ottawa continues with total of eight stores as of 2007
  • 2009: Jeff York joins as Farm Boy CEO to help grow the business
  • 2011: Farm Boy named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies
  • 2011: Two new stores in Ottawa open – Britannia and Stittsville
  • 2012: First store outside region in Kingston and another in Orleans
  • 2014: First store in Southwestern Ontario opens in London
  • 2015: Four stores open – two in London, one in GTA (Whitby) and one in Kitchener
  • 2016: Four new stores open including first Urban store in Ottawa’s Westboro area, plus one each in Brantford, Cambridge, and Pickering
  • 2017: Total store count is now 23 with more planned for GTA
  • 3,119 employees across Ontario
  • 613 signature Farm Boy products
  • 134 Ontario suppliers

About Farm Boy

Selected as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies, Eastern Ontario based Farm Boy provides a unique and friendly, fresh-market shopping experience.

Featuring their signature farm-fresh produce, organic, natural and locally sourced foods, their stores carry a full selection of premium meats, artisan cheese, sustainable seafood and private label brands; plus their popular fresh prepared meals, made from scratch in the Farm Boy Kitchen.

With legions of loyal customers, Farm Boy has grown from a small produce stand starting in Cornwall in 1981 to 23 stores located in Brantford, Cambridge, Cornwall, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, Pickering and Whitby. The company plans to continue its fresh market expansion across Ontario with more stores planned for 2017.

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