Business Beat – NU Grocery Settles in on Main Street

Theresa Wallace

NU co-owners Sia Veeramani and Valerie Leloup are happy with the uptake on zero-waste shopping. Photo by Erick Stoplmann

NU co-owners Sia Veeramani and Valerie Leloup are happy with the uptake on zero-waste shopping.
Photo by Erick Stoplmann

Since NU Grocery (NU) opened in October, Old Ottawa East residents no longer have to leave the neighbourhood to buy basics such as milk, eggs or bread, and the grocery store has hired more staff. The owners say they’re happy with the enthusiastic uptake on zero-waste shopping and, although their client base is the neighbourhood, regular customers are also coming from adjacent communities and as far away as Orleans and Gatineau.

The most popular products so far are the sourdough bread baked by Little Stream Bakery, concentrated laundry soap from Quebec-based PURE, peanut butter, Equator coffee, bulk frozen berries and Beking eggs.

Co-owners Sia Veeramani and Valerie Leloup have noticed subtle differences in preferences at the Main Street NU compared to their Hintonburg store, which opened in 2017. “The offerings are mostly the same, however, we have introduced a few new spices, grains and beans that Old Ottawa East customers have requested,” Veeramani explains. “Since the NU Main store is a larger space, we have a wider selection of products, including bulk frozen foods.”

Photo by Erick Stoplmann

Photo by Erick Stoplmann

Veeramani says that as a small independent business NU tries to keep prices comparable to bulk stores, health food stores and supermarkets. “Having said that, we carefully curate our products to choose the best available. Some are ultra-concentrated or locally made or artisan, which can affect the price. Many last longer—our personal care products such as moisturizer, shampoo and deodorant are an example—which spreads out the cost over time.”

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