Category Archives: Kudrinko’s News

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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Localize brings food facts to Kudrinko’s customers

Localize shelf labels are shown here at Kudrinko's on locally-made product, Wonton Crunch.

Localize shelf labels are shown here at Kudrinko’s for locally-made product, Wonton Crunch.

Neil Kudrinko knows how important information about food sourcing is to his customers. That’s why Kudrinko’s is beginning to adopt an in-store program that puts those details directly into the hands of its customers.

The independent grocery store in Westport, Ontario is launching the Localize labelling system which highlights locally grown and produced foods. Kudrinko, who owns and operates the store, said Localize is about empowering customers to make more informed choices while also helping grocers better communicate and promote their local products.

At face value, Localize is essentially a shelf labelling system. But in seconds, a customer can scan the label’s QR code and the product is brought to life with a story about everything from its ingredients to the distance it has travelled.

“It’s an awareness platform for shoppers,” said Kudrinko. “Localize highlights quick answers to customer questions about where a product was made, what went into it, who made it and how it was made with a keen focus on sustainability.”

He said it takes the guess work out of the food buying process for consumers. That’s an important next step for Kudrinko’s, as the local grocer has proven time and again that supporting local food producers, sustainability and green initiatives are at the forefront of the business.

“It’s a great tool to get food facts to customers so they can make fast, details-based choices,” Kudrinko said, noting he understands the importance of communicating key food information to his customers.

Stop by Kudrinko’s to test drive the new shelf labelling system. The initiative will grow as the season progresses, so stay tuned for more information as the launch of Localize continues at Kudrinko’s.

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Feasting with your family: Kudrinko’s celebrates Family Meals Month

FamilyMealTime-LogoIn September, Kudrinko’s Ltd.  is moving past the aisles at the store and into the homes of its customers.

That’s because the family-owned, independent grocer in Westport, Ont. is promoting Family Meals Month in association with the Food Marketing Institute, which encourages sharing meals around the table.

The focus is designed to underscore the benefits of family meals and the role the grocer can play in helping your family share one more meal at home per week.

Eating together as a family is proven to promote lifelong health benefits. Regular family meals are linked to higher grades for children, increased self-esteem, healthier eating habits and less risky behaviour. In fact, a recent study shows that children who grow up sharing meals as a family are more likely to exhibit pro-social behaviour as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect. (De Backer, C.J. 2014).

Neil Kudrinko, owner of Kudrinko’s Ltd., said his store is committed to helping its customers make shared meals at home fun, affordable and healthier. He said he knows that juggling jobs, kids and the demands of a busy life often come at the expense of family mealtime at home. To that end, he said the Westport grocer can be an ally to finding a solution to the mealtime dilemma.

“Back to school time is a great opportunity to renew that commitment to bringing the family together at the end of the day to share a meal,” he said, noting Kudrinko’s offers an ever-expanding assortment of products that take the stress out of planning and preparing family meals, such as pre-prepared fresh ingredients, delicious readymade salads, and more.

“Our customers can find healthy, mealtime solutions in almost every aisle of the store – and our staff is always willing to help out through locating products or meeting special diet and nutrition requirements.”

Kudrinko’s will be posting tips on social media throughout the month of September, highlighting the benefits of sharing family meals. In addition, Kudrinko’s is devoting the back page of its two September flyers to products and a recipe that are sure to please every member of your family. Watch for a delicious recipe for turkey noodle bake in the flyer starting on Sept. 4!

For more information on how Kudrinko’s is encouraging Family Meals Month, follow on Facebook at and Twitter @Kudrinkos or stop by the store at 22 Main St. in Westport.

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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 takes safety to the next level

Neil Kudrinko and staff member, Monique Byrne, accept a Public Access Defibrillator from David Dargie of St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds-Grenville and Lanark. Kudrinko’s in Westport is now one of the few retail spaces to have a defibrillator installed.

Neil Kudrinko and staff member, Monique Byrne, accept a Public Access Defibrillator from David Dargie of St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds-Grenville and Lanark. Kudrinko’s in Westport is now one of the few retail spaces to have a defibrillator installed.

Kudrinko’s Ltd. got a special delivery on Tuesday morning – one that could save lives.

A Public Access Defibrillator is now installed at the independent grocery store in Westport, Ont., from the St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

Owner Neil Kudrinko said the machine was an investment into the safety of the store for its customers, which makes sense when considering the sheer number of people who shop at the local business.

“We estimate that about 10,000 people per week walk through the store in the summer months,” Kudrinko said. “We’ve had a few instances where someone is in medical distress in the store, so we wanted to be proactive and make this extra commitment to our customers.”

The St. John Ambulance Brigade provides community service and training which improves the health, safety and quality of life for residents of the Brockville, Smith Falls, and 1000 Islands area. David Dargie, Caring for Our Community Capital Campaign Co-ordinator with the local St. John Ambulance Brigade, said that having a defibrillator at a retail space is exceptional. “That’s progressive,” he said. “Having a defibrillator on site at a grocery store is really cutting edge.”

Kudrinko said not only is the Public Access Defibrillator installed near to the cash area, but half of Kudrinko’s staff is now also trained in CPR and automatic electric defibrillator use.

Dargie said it’s that kind of dedication that could prove essential to saving lives. “As awareness grows in terms of how lifesaving they can be, more community organizations, municipalities and now retail spaces are jumping on board,” he said, noting that the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is aiming to create a map which showcases the location of all defibrillators in the region. “We aim to make these as popular as fire extinguishers.”

He points to an incident earlier this year in Brockville, Ont. when a man was saved by use of a defibrillator after he collapsed at a local arena. Dargie said as people become cognizant of how effective the Public Access Defibrillators can be, the St. John Ambulance Brigade is seeing an increase in people getting equipped and trained for their use.

Distributing the defibrillators is only a small part of what the St. John Ambulance does in the community. Celebrating its 55th year in 2014, St. John Ambulance Brigade of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark offers a full range of first aid, CPR and even marine medical first responder services. In addition, it has served area residents through providing training, therapy dog services, youth services, and car seat safety services. Learn more at

Kudrinko said he is glad to partner with the St. John Ambulance Brigade so the defibrillator can be in place at Kudrinko’s in Westport, as part of the store’s ongoing commitment to its customers. To find out more about the unique initiatives unfolding at Kudrinko’s, click here.

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