Hi everybody! A little bird told me that this weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Pete’s Frootique! I couldn’t just let such a momentous occasion go without re-posting about my previous experience at Pete’s.
So happy anniversary, Pete’s! I hope to be able to swing on by again after another twenty!
Pete Luckett came to Canada from Nottingham, England and opened up his first market in Saint John, New Brunswick over 30 years ago. He opened the Bedford location back in 1992 and has two more locations: one in downtown Halifax and a new location in Wolfville. His goal has always been to capture the allure of international cuisine…and I have to tell you that I think he’s done an amazing job!
Let me first tell you what I love about Pete’s Frootique; the atmosphere. It’s not stuffy…it’s not pretentious…it’s not like any other grocery store that you have been inside before.
The signage takes you by surprise as you walk in. It’s so colorful and vibrant…it’s as if you’re about to enter a Florida theme park. You can tell that Pete has a fun-loving personality just by the way the signage jumps out at you.
Another thing about the atmosphere that took me by surprise was that there was a piano player high above the grocery section. Seriously…a pianist was located on a small balcony over-looking the store and she was playing music live for our shopping pleasure. I have never experienced anything quite like that before and I can’t tell you just how impressed I was. It was a little extra “somethin’ special” that is added for an ambiance and overall experience that you just can’t find anywhere else.
Attention to small details was something else that really stood out to me. Sure, the fruit and vegetables looked about as fresh as you could possibly expect…but there was something else that I had never seen before: open fruit. After bathing in the bananas I swung over to the orange section and there they were…fruit after fruit…all with one piece cut open in two so that people could see what the fruit looked like on the inside. Have you ever seen that before?
It isn’t just the small details, either. When creating the Frootique, Pete’s first goal was to capture the down-home personality and heritage of the Victorian Market he left in Nottingham. In doing this, he has some very unique and creative designs and decorations throughout the store.
One of the other things I noticed was that the staff of Pete’s seemed genuinely happy to be working there. They were outgoing and friendly and eager to assist. I walked by the butcher shop and there were a couple of people milling about as one of the butchers talked shop with another customer. When finished, he loudly (and with a smile) offered to assist anybody at all who wanted help or had a question. It was just so much different than the usual “meh” reaction I get from other grocery stores.
Something that impressed me tremendously was the promotion of local food products. It wasn’t just that there were some local things here and there, there was signage at almost every turn that said “LOCAL”…so if you wanted to buy local (and really…who doesn’t?) then you know what’s locally produced and what isn’t. That simply isn’t something that you see everywhere…and that was quite impressive.
Above all else, I think, the thing that impressed me the most about Pete’s Frootique was the amazing selection of food items that I simply can’t find anywhere else. Every single aisle has something new on a shelf that I never heard of…some amazing-sounding product that you can’t wait to try. And the great thing is that you will probably find something new every single time you visit.
To top it all off, once your grocery shopping experience is over, you simply walk ten steps and you’re in front of some of the best food and healthy beverages that the city has to offer.
You can try Pete’s European Deli, which (per their website) “is dedicated to providing the highest quality in food with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and unbeatable service.” Nathalie, a friend of mine from Moncton, tried a sandwich over the weekend at the downtown Halifax location and couldn’t say enough good things about it (she was also super-excited about the new store in Wolfville).
The other option when leaving is to try something at Pete’s Power Juice Bar. The Juice Bar offers an assortment of delectable fruit smoothies and veggie juices with the freshest ingredients direct from the Frootique. Just to put some “nutritional icing on the cake”, you can also throw some great supplements like flax or acai into the smoothie just to give it a little extra pep.
Here is the best part about my visit, though. After paying for my items, I asked the cashier if every employee was actually as happy as they appeared to be. Without missing a beat he gave a genuine “Yes” answer. He said that it was a pretty great place to work and there wasn’t a reason to not be happy.
How can you top that?
So if you happen to be in Bedford, Halifax, or Wolfville…or if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience the unique shopping that is Pete’s Frootique…I can’t recommend them enough to you. Give them a try. Just walk in and look around. I think you’ll be glad that you did.
Have any ideas on where in the Maritimes I should show up next? Know of a great local business that you think should get some exposure? Are you a small business owner who would like to promote your product? I would LOVE to hear from you!
Just send me an email at RomanChimpsky@gmail.com and let me know!