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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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2014 Carbon Reports

Kudrinko’s Ltd. president and CEO Neil Kudrinko is pleased to release the company’s 2014 Carbon Report. The report details emissions from the operation of its grocery store located at 22 Main Street in Westport and shares the company’s strategy with respect to strategic investment, energy savings, as well as social and environmental responsibility.

Featured image  Featured image

Questions or comments regarding the sustainability efforts of Kudrinko’s Ltd. are always welcome. Please feel free to contact Neil Kudrinko directly at 613-273-2130 or by email neil (at)

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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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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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Kudrinko’s Continues to Cut Carbon

Kudrinko’s Ltd. president Neil Kudrinko couldn’t be happier with his latest Carbon Counted report results. “Since we began the transformation of our 1960s era grocery store into a modern energy efficient example of sound business practices I’ve always had a very specific goal in mind – getting our emissions under 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.”

crvEmissionsBySite-page-001This milestone was easily surpassed by the Westport grocer coming in at 92.55 tonnes for 2012. While electricity usage was up for the store over 2011, the carbon emissions per kilowatt hour on the Ontario grid was lower than previous years due increased green energy production and the continued phasing out of coal.

“Every business continues to look at new programs that we can run in our stores to increase sales. In 2012 we expanded out hot food sales and added more equipment in our kitchen,” said Kudrinko. “The challenge for store operators is to offset these new processes by reducing consumption in other areas. Last year’s improvements included retrofitting our freezers with LED lights.”

The store has been tracking its energy consumption and refrigerant losses using Carbon Counted since 2007 in conjunction with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers’ Environmental Sustainability Initiative. Setting benchmarks and giving context to expense line items such as energy has allowed Kudrinko’s to be very strategic in making money saving investments.

“You can’t tackle a problem unless you have a means of measuring it,” said Kudrinko. “We’ll keep looking to lower our consumption numbers, add savings to the bottom line, and do something good for the environment.”

Click here to download Kudrinko`s 2012 Carbon Counted Report:  crvEmissionsBySite.

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Kudrinko’s featured in top US grocery trade publication

We’re pleased to share the feature article from December’s Progressive Grocer Independent issue highlighting the efforts that we have made as a company to deliver a top quality grocery operation. Martha and I are proud of the store that we offer to Westport and the Rideau Lakes and we continue to invest in our business for the benefit of our community. Click on the cover to view the article, it will download as a PDF file.

PGI 1212 1 Coverv4 JD-page-001


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Shopping for food is a community building act: Sam Mogannam at TEDxPresidio

If the grocery industry in the United States has a figure that is worthy of term “rock star”, in my estimation that person is Sam Mogannam. Sam shares a passion for food which is hard to find and he’s used that passion to not only build an exceptional grocery business, he’s also used that passion to rebuild a community in the process.  Check out this great video presentation of Sam’s talk at TedxPresidio.

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