Category Archives: Green Initiatives

Kudrinko’s plays host to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Kudrinko’s received a special visitor Thursday afternoon – one who shares a similar passion for the environment.

Dr. Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, toured the independent, family-owned store in Westport, Ont. this week, with Leeds-Grenville MPP, Steve Clark.

Clark brought Dr. Saxe to his riding to raise public awareness about the Environmental Bill of Rights and the role of her office. The Environmental Bill of Rights came into force in 1994 and establishes the process for public participation in decisions that affect the environment.

Dr. Saxe visited the Frontenac Arch Biosphere office in Lansdowne earlier in the day, and then was hosting a public meeting in Portland Thursday evening about the Bill.

Clark said he was keen to bring Dr. Saxe to tour Kudrinko’s to showcase what entrepreneurs are environmentally capable of in small communities. “The work that Neil has done with the store has resulted in him having a reputation as a leader in energy conservation,” Clark said of owner, Neil Kudrinko.

Kudrinko toured the commissioner through the store, including into the new meat room and cooler area, noting energy conservation measures along the way. He also expressed concern about the cost of operating a grocery store in small rural communities, high set up costs and access to capital – all aspects that ultimately determine the viability of such business ownership.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and being Canada’s first grocery stewardship certified store, Kudrinko also noted the switch to entirely LED lighting throughout the store. Previously, the grocery store incorporated four, 28-watt florescent tubes in each ceiling light panel, but now each light runs on 50-watts total. The first area to switch over to LEDs was the freezers, then the horizontal cases, followed by the ceiling lights.

Kudrinko has earned accolades in the past few years, for reducing carbon emissions, electricity consumption, food waste and storm water. He said leading the way as an independent in Canada shows the opportunity that lies ahead as an industry. “It provides a chance to show how we can make a difference, making the exception the norm,” Kudrinko said.

For more information on how Kudrinko’s is making green initiatives a priority at the store, click here. To read about how Kudrinko’s was named the first store in Canada to earn the Grocery Stewardship Certification, please click here.

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Kudrinko’s reduces waste by installing cardboard baler

Kudrinko's cardboard baler Westport green grocery storeKudrinko’s is looking more compact these days.

That’s because the local independent grocery store in Westport, Ont. installed a cardboard baler in September. Although it has only been in place for two months, the compactor is already showing big results for waste diversion at the store.

Owner and operator, Neil Kudrinko, said the measure was taken to continue with the efforts towards sustainability and keeping a keen focus on waste coming from the store. Recycling cardboard is an attractive option for grocery stores, and cardboard compaction makes the bulk much smaller – minimizing the space needed for storage.

In fact, the new cardboard compactor has also allowed Kudrinko’s to aggressively divert other materials such as plastic shrink wrap from the waste stream. It effectively reduced the store’s garbage production by 55 per cent for the months of September and October when compared to the same time period in 2014.

Kudrinko's cardboard bales grocery store Westport“Since installation, we have already shipped six metric tonnes of cardboard,” said Kudrinko. “The results are positive and work to maximize space at the store, while also permitting us to be more responsible with our waste.”

He added that reducing and diverting garbage from the store is something he has been aiming to focus on for quite some time. Kudrinko’s earned accolades earlier this year for reducing its carbon emissions significantly and adopting numerous green initiatives. Now, Kudrinko says he is pleased to focus on the store’s waste stream.

“We were already looking at waste diversion for fruit, vegetables and meat; now we’re looking at ways to dispose of other aspects of our waste stream without putting an additional burden on the municipality,” he said.

In that vein, Forman Farms near Seeley’s Bay takes loads of waxed produce boxes from Kudrinko’s to be recycled into heating pellets for their greenhouses. Kudrinko said it’s another example of sustainability in action.

For more information on how Kudrinko’s is making green initiatives a priority at the store, click here. To read about how Kudrinko’s was named the first store in Canada to earn the Grocery Stewardship Certification, please click here.

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Kudrinko’s earns first sustainability certification in Canada

Website.Kudrinkos.Grocery Store Certification.April 2015Kudrinko’s recently achieved a first for grocery store sustainability in all of Canada – just in time for Earth Day.

The independent, family-owned store in Westport, Ont. earned the first Grocery Stewardship Certification in the country.

The certification from United States-based Manomet Center for Conservation Services was developed to make the grocery sector more sustainable. The GSC program helps grocery store leadership reduce their environmental footprint through continuous improvement and employee engagement.

Kudrinko’s has recently made a lot of progress focused on energy – reducing carbon emissions, electricity consumption, food waste and storm water.

“I like to be a leader in the space of sustainability and the grocery industry in Canada,” said Neil Kudrinko, owner of Kudrinko’s Ltd. He added that he feels fortunate to be an independent operator with the ability to make the commitment to sustainability and then exercise the necessary changes.

The GSC recognition comes with having achieved a level of points towards certification. If a store is corporately-owned, the score has to reach 150 points to be eligible. Independent operators must achieve 100 points to be certified. Kudrinko’s exceeded both and scored 198 in its first attempt at certification.

In addition to environmental measures, the store scored high points for being active within its community. Kudrinko leads food education tours for local schools, is a consultant for the Two Rivers Food Hub, prints its flyers on 100 per cent recycled paper, and provided a multi-year funding commitment for visitor upgrades at Foley Mountain Conservation Area, among other initiatives.

“Kudrinko’s is a leader in the grocery sector for communicating the importance of sustainable operations to its employees and customers and for demonstrating sustainable practices at the store,” said Peter Cooke, Program Manager, Sustainable Economies Program with Manomet.

Kudrinko said achieving the certification gives him a new commitment to increase the energy savings at the store. He said earning the certification and leading the way as an independent in Canada shows the opportunity that lies ahead as an industry. “It provides a chance to show how we can make a difference, making the exception the norm,” Kudrinko said, noting he encourages other members of the industry to do the same.

Recently-installed dairy and meat cases elevate that to the next level. Not only do they add to the shopping experience for customers, but the new coolers fit into the overall merchandising scheme of the store, able to hold more product which allowed Kudrinko’s to expand selection. Kudrinko said they are 80 per cent more efficient than the old ones, which dated back to 2001. The cases include details that make a big difference such as LED lights and roller shades for at night to keep the cool air contained.

The cases may seem like a small step forward, but Kudrinko said part of the overall customer experience includes making shopping comfortable for patrons, improving enjoyment and their time spent at the store. “We hear a lot of people expressing how nice it is to see a grocery store show their commitment to community – and to the environment,” he said. “That’s important for a lot of people.”

But he said it also helps keep the store competitive. The upgrades translate into the store saving more than 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, or about 10 per cent of the overall energy consumption. “Investments like this continue to deliver competitive pricing to customers,” he said.

Now, Kudrinko is setting his sights even higher. The Township of Rideau Lakes is now accepting plastic shopping bags and skid wrap – which he said is going to allow a further reduction to the store’s waste stream.

To find out more about other ways which Kudrinko’s has shown its commitment to sustainability and the environment, please see other relevant posts, such as the store’s latest Carbon Reports.

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Kudrinko recognized for leading Generation Next

Low Res,Neil Kudrinko.GenerationNextAward

Neil Kudrinko, owner of Kudrinko’s Ltd. in Westport, is honoured to be named a recipient of the national Generation Next Award. He accepted the award Nov. 24 in Toronto.

Neil Kudrinko consistently thinks about the future when it comes to his grocery store. Now he’s getting recognized for it.

Kudrinko accepted a Generation Next Award from Canadian Grocer at the Food Industry Association of Canada’s Golden Pencil Awards in Toronto on Nov. 24.

He was thrilled to receive the award, which recognizes his efforts in transforming the family-owned, independent Kudrinko’s Ltd. in Westport, Ont. into a modern energy efficient example of sound business practices. Kudrinko was on hand to accept the accolade, and was lauded for his company’s innovation and making a difference.

Kudrinko was chosen from other leaders across the country for the work completed on environmental retrofits to the store at 22 Main St. in Westport. Not only that, but Kudrinko is also interested in fostering more environmental responsibility with others in the industry. “Hopefully, this is along the lines of where our generation will go,” he said. “I don’t want to be judged by my balance sheet, I want to know that the changes made have a greater benefit and impact for the planet and our children.”

The Generation Next Award honours rising stars of the grocery store industry, exciting thinkers under the age of 40 who work in grocery head offices, at the store level or for a consumer packaged goods company or other grocery supplier.

Commencing several years ago, Kudrinko’s started tracking its energy consumption and refrigerant losses, replacing inefficient compressors and HVAC systems, improving insulation of the building envelope, and retrofitting its freezers with LED lights. Outside of the store walls, Kudrinko’s has installed off-grid solar parking lot lighting, and incorporated ground water bioswales into its recent parking lot project. Just one example illustrates the impact of the retrofits: Kudrinko managed to cut the store’s carbon emissions from 173 metric tons down to just 93 metric tons annually.

“We aim to continue seeing how far we can go in terms of reducing our environmental impact and being more conscious of our footprint,” he said. Kudrinko was also a finalist for the award in 2011. His nomination this time around focused on the sustainability aspect of the business, energy-efficiency retrofits, as well as his consulting work with the new local food hub.

Kudrinko also sits on many national and international committees dedicated to grocery and food marketing. For instance, he is an active member on the energy and store development conference committee with the Food Marketing Institute.

That organization is the largest trade organization in North America – and Kudrinko is one of only two Canadians, and the only independent grocer, accepted onto the committee.

The Generation Next Awards are presented by Canadian Grocer in association with the Golden Pencil Awards. Along with the award, Kudrinko will also receive recognition in a profile piece published by Canadian Grocer magazine. To learn about other accolades earned for green initiatives, please click here.

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Kudrinko’s proves it’s great to be green

Martha and Neil Kudrinko accept an Outstanding Independent, Greatness in Green Award from Progressive Grocer at the National Grocer's Association show in Las Vegas recently.

Martha and Neil Kudrinko accept an Outstanding Independent, Greatness in Green Award from Progressive Grocer at the National Grocer’s Association show in Las Vegas recently. (Photo courtesy of Progressive Grocer)

Kudrinko’s Ltd. has a lot to celebrate.

The Westport, Ont. family-owned, independent grocer was thrilled to recently receive a Greatness in Green, Outstanding Independent award from Progressive Grocer. The awards reception was held in Las Vegas last week, during the National Grocer’s Association show.

Owners Neil and Martha Kudrinko were on hand to accept the accolade which honoured grocer innovation or success in a specific area of business. The store was nominated for its environmental efforts and competed against entries throughout North America.

“We’re proud of this achievement as we strive to be a modern, energy efficient example of sound business practices,” said Neil Kudrinko. “The investments we’ve made are not only good for the environment, they ensure that our store will remain competitive as we deal with issues like rising energy costs.”

Even before earning the designation, Kudrinko’s was tracking its energy consumption and refrigerant losses, replacing inefficient compressors and HVAC systems, improving insulation of the building envelope, and retrofitting its freezers with LED lights. Outside of the store walls, Kudrinko’s has installed off-grid solar parking lot lighting, and incorporated ground water bioswales into its recent parking lot project.

Progressive Grocer noted that while each of the award winners may have differing approaches to how they go to market, what remains consistent is the extremely close ties they have to the communities they serve.

“Such close relationships give independent grocers insights into their shoppers that they can never glean from transaction or market data, regardless of how rich it is,” the magazine stated in an online article.

Kudrinko’s accomplishments were featured in the February edition of the magazine, with a profile detailing the strategies that contributed to its selection as a winner.

To find out more about Kudrinko’s green initiatives, click here.

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