In 2010 after many years of ill health Annick discovered she was Celiac. This prompted a vast change in what she could eat and how she did her groceries. Annick found that she had to read all of the ingredients listed on all of her food products to see what she could and could not eat. The oddest things contained wheat, which she could not eat. Raisins, a snack that you would not consider something to worry about are dusted with wheat flour so they won’t stick.
Instead of doing her groceries in 1 store, she had to go to 3 or 4 different stores to get everything she needed for her diet. This is time consuming and frustrating.
Annick decided to leave a long career in the insurance business and start her own store, “Annick's Gluten Free Market” a combination of specialty and gluten free foods.
Having been in the life insurance industry for 35 year, Annick has a vast knowledge of medical terms and their meanings which will be important in educating customers.
The store plans to carry a variety of dry goods, frozen meats, lactose free dairy products and a small amount of bulk foods such as rice, pastas and dried fruits. The only treatment at this time for Celiac disease is a strict Gluten Free diet for life. A Gluten Free diet will protect a Celiac patient from developing another autoimmune disease and has been shown to help children with Autism. Our store will be servicing people with Celiac Disease and lactose intolerance which is often associated with Celiac.
Dave who is Annick's husband has worked in the baking industry for 20 yrs. Dave has a vast knowledge of ingredients which include wheat, oats, barley and rye having been a baker, which is very crucial to Annick's gluten free market. Dave has experience in ordering bulk inventory from distributors and suppliers. Dave was and is very much a people person and is very good at customer relations.
Our Mission Statement:
Annick's gluten free market is a one stop shop for gluten free and lactose free food, as well as an education store for special diets. We want to increase awareness of Celiac disease and to provide reliable and up to date information through gluten free diet, literature, news letters from the Canadian Celiac association and product alerts for our customers.
Many stores, such as Loblaws and Metro sell a small amount of gluten free products. The Big Carrot which has been in business for the past 25 years in Toronto seems to be the biggest supplier of gluten free products and are the main competitor for any store selling this product line. However even they do not carry everything for this restrictive diet.
Our aim is not only to sell Gluten Free products to our clients but to also help educate them by having reading material from the Canadian Celiac Association, giving out free recipes as well as small samples of different foods for people to try in our store.
We also want to refer our clients to the Canadian Celiac association for additional information.
Because 30% of celiac patients have one or more other autoimmune disease, our plan is to have a nutritionist come into the store once a month once the business has been established. The nutritionist would help clients adjust to their dietary needs for combinations of Celiac, lactose intolerance, diabetes and other related diseases.
There is a limited amount of stores in Toronto carrying Gluten Free foods and we know this is a good time for our venture as there is more and more demand for this type of food.
More health conscious people are switching over to Gluten Free products as well.