Nutters franchises across the province celebrated 40 years of business on Saturday, but that milestone takes on special significance in Prince Albert.
The Prince Albert Nutters Everyday Naturals was one of the first to open when it began operations in 1984. Owner Janine Favreau has operated her location for 38 of those 40 years, making her the longest franchisee in the whole company.
“I am the original and longest owner of a Nutter’s location,” Favrau said.
“When I got involved they weren’t a franchise yet, so the President of Nutters and I have both the same time in the business. For me I guess you would say it is closer to that 40 years in some respect.”
Nutters was founded in Medicine Hat in 1982 and it was there that Favreau’s connection began. She was living in Medicine Hat at the time and her husband, who worked as a contractor, was building the interior of a Nutters store.
“That’s where the interest came,” Favreau explained. “And we are both originally from Prince Albert, so (there was) all the more (reason) to come home.”
The Prince Albert location has been operating in the same space and has been prosperous since it opened. Favreau gives all the credit to her customers.
“The day that we opened our doors we were a success and it’s because of the community,” she said. “They supported us so well.”
Throughout the years, Nutters has evolved from selling specialty bulk foods and seasonal gift trays to becoming a health and natural food centre with 23 locations across Western Canada.
Favreau said the change has been good, since it keeps them busy throughout the whole year.
“To be in business you have to have chameleon-type qualities and you have got to continually change and evolve,” Favreau said. “That is what’s happened here.
“When we were in the bulk business we were busy, but the bulk would slow down in certain months, and where the bulk slows down, supplements are at their highest.”
Favreau said someone recently asked her what her slowest time of year is. She said there isn’t one.
“None, because we serve all of the different seasons,” she said.
“Bulk is hopping, our baking goods are hopping and we manufacture all of our candy and nut trays on location here. We are only one of the two Nutters that do their own candy and nut trays. The rest of them have them manufactured from our head office. There is a crew of six that come in the beginning of November and they stay and they stay right until about Christmas Day making gift trays.”
The Prince Albert location employs anywhere from 22 to 28 people and includes both full and part time employees.
Saturday’s celebration included free cupcakes and organic coffee, product sampling, and demo events. There was also a Spin and Win for a chance to win one of 40 prizes.
Favreau said the franchise can offer whatever suits the community they serve.
“That’s the beauty of being a Nutter’s franchisee: we are not tied to what we can do,” she said. “I do here what I think is going to be a hit for my community. North Battleford does what she thinks is going to work.”
The store was a busy place for Saturday’s 40th Anniversary celebration, with crowds lining up right from the start.
“I just find it so humbling the way the community has supported us. I continually say that we have the nicest customers in any retail business,” Favreau said,
“We have got the nicest customers. We honestly do and that has been from day one.”